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Posted February 25, 2020, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Listing shows jack arch deck. It seems like a slab on stringers.

Posted January 29, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

The Midland City Council has elected to make the one-way traffic order permanent. It's said that "eventually", the road design will be changed, however.

https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/Midland-s-Currie-Par...

Posted January 26, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Replacement replica slated to be finished by July: https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2020/01/after-arson-...

Posted January 26, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Is there any way to get that inspection info off the page? It's associated with a much smaller stringer bridge that was from 1903, not 1913.

The error probably happened because the NBI listings have had Shaytown Road entries for both Thornapple River and Thornapple Creek; the small stringer was over the creek.

Posted January 25, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Bridge Street has, actually, been a trunkline route since the implementation of the system (whose centennial was actually just last year). Up until 1925, it was part of the original M-16 (which was never re-used after being supplanted with U.S. 16). It then hung in limbo for a couple of years until definitely being signed as its current M-100 by 1927.

http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/HistoricUS-016pg2.h...

http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/M-100.html

Posted January 22, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

A small bridge in an area with a lot of significance.

Grand River Avenue formerly served as U.S. 16 in Ionia County from its inception (same year this bridge was built) up until the end of 1958, when I-96 was opened to traffic between Portland and just east of Kent County.

This bridge, in turn, is one of several still-remaining examples throughout the state representative of a standard 1920s design. (Another one remains over Libhart Creek east of M-66, but is easily in worse condition, with its railings more heavily covered up and also badly spalled.)

Just west of the curve west of this bridge, is a roadside historical marker that denotes the site of Michigan's first highway roadside picnic table. This was a perk introduced by then-Ionia County Highway Engineer Allan K. Williams; the link I've posted, in addition to being about U.S. 16 in Michigan, also tells of Williams's contributions to Michigan's highways.

Posted January 22, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

The NBI for 2012 updated the build year to 1910 with a repair date of 1952.

Page on the construction of the new bridge here, which also includes a few pictures of both bridges side by side: https://www.preinnewhof.com/pn_projects/village-of-muir/

Posted January 22, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Based on this history of the railroad line, I would place this bridge as being built in or at least around 1870:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionia_and_Lansing_Railroad

Happy 150!

Posted January 20, 2020, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm not really sure what this one is. Looks like it could either be a girder or maybe a short deck truss.

Posted January 14, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Portions of the stone substructure of this bridge were retained and used in the replacement bridge.

Posted January 14, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This bridge replaced a WIBC bowstring, if one of the other editors has more time than me, feel free to create its own page, photo attached.

Posted January 13, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Its probably the last highway bridge that could be found Eligible For Listing in the National Register of Historic Places however.

Posted January 13, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)
Posted January 11, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Looking around this area on HA, I notice there were nearby crossings both to the west and east of this, both quite likely trusses - one is suggestive, one is plainly clear.

Hubbardston Road may have had a through truss, it was replaced (per NBI) in 1959.

Stoney Creek Road, when it crossed the creek, definitely had a pony - the 1965 image is quite clear. This one was gone by 1981.

Posted January 11, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Both this bridge and the Ashmun Street bridge in Sault Ste. Marie (BH 20006) are products of the National Recovery Project, one of the multiple New Deal entities that emerged in effort to reverse the Great Depression.

I'm a bit at a loss for how to account for that particular project on here, though, because it's a little less straightforward compared to the Works Progress and Public Works Administrations. Plus, the National Recovery Administration, which would otherwise be my best guess, was declared unconstitutional in 1935, thus that entity lasted for much less time than the WPA and PWA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Industrial_Recovery_A...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Recovery_Administrati...

Posted January 11, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

I wouldn't go quite so far as to say this is the last county bridge with *any* historical significance...the CN railroad bridge over M-53 is a Depression Era artifact, which is not exactly INsignificant.

It might be less of a stretch, though, to say that this is the bridge that best combines aesthetics and significance and still remains today.

Posted January 6, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have added the NRHP nomination form to the links for this bridge.

In addition to fleshing out the timeline for this location in more detail, it also sheds additional light on how prolific Joliet were in Michigan - including identifying a few bridges that, up until now, haven't had a known builder listed.

Posted January 6, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

That proposed concept restoration - is that your design, or did someone come up with that?

Reason I ask is, there may be new developments in this area soon enough.

Dow Chemical is proposing a settlement for a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration action that began in 2005 (!) - as part of this, they would direct an estimated $77 million toward more than a dozen environmental restoration projects throughout the Great Lakes Bay region.

https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw-bay-city/2020/01/dow-chem...

One of those, the Tittabawassee River Floodplain Restoration and Bike Trail, would see a few new trails created in the area of this bridge, with a proposed trailhead at the spot where the bridge is. It's currently not proposed to use both sides of the river, however (thus it ostensibly wouldn't involve restoring this bridge or replacing it with a new one).

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/es/ec/nrda/TittabawasseeRiverNRD...

The settlement is now currently awaiting court approval.

Wells Bridge (Michigan)
Posted January 5, 2020, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

On HA, the oldest available view is from 1953.

On that view, there's the railroad bridge.

To its right, is clearly THIS bridge's successor (Bay Shore Road Bridge).

To its left, are remains of piers. Those could, possibly, be from THIS bridge.

Wells Bridge (Michigan)
Posted January 5, 2020, by Greyson (greysonhansen08 [at] gmail [dot] com)

there are also piers of another possible bridge next to the railroad bridge

Posted December 31, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

The plaque on this bridge has "DETROIT & IRONTON R. R. CO." listed.

Posted December 31, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Not long after, as it turns out - it's gone, and the road is re-aligned, by 1980. So, that work was ostensibly done in the late 70s.

Turns out also that the road used to curve right here, which explains the pin position.

Posted December 31, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

That old guess turns out to be way, way off.

In fact, the earliest available Aerial for this location is 1954 - and it's already gone!

This is where being able to research the railroad lines here in Bay City would really come in handy.

Posted December 31, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Adjusted the pin on this, as per the views from Historic Aerials, it turns out this actually crossed the river at the west curve where the river turns north. The road then ran along the north side of the river going east.

Best I can narrow down the time of removal is that by 1999, it's gone.

I'd love to know more about where by Gaylord this was moved to, though.

Posted December 31, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

The last Aerial that shows this still there is 2005. The next one, 2009 - gone.

Posted December 30, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I could conceivably see it setting there until it completely fell into the stream and the county was forced to remove it.

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

A portion of the road was abandoned in 1983

Posted December 30, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Doubt it was replaced, even with a temporary span to keep the road open at that point, not if the road was being abandoned.

Speaking of which - I'm guessing you found a 1980 article on the road being closed?

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Yea, Babcock is on its way !

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Mike, after reading the two articles, I believe the bridge was repaired or replaced after the 1966 collapse. But I have not found any information on it. Thank you for looking on HA !

Posted December 30, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Admittedly, I did not/do not have an alternative theory, just that leaving a partially-collapsed structure sitting there for 15 years or more when it was known to be collapsed seems awfully neglectful - in turn making me wonder whether to believe that to be the case. (Someone please correct me on this if it really is more common than you'd think to leave collapsed bridges that are known to be collapsed to just sit there.)

Both of those new article finds are great - nice work!

With regards to the 1981, both of the other two bridges mentioned there are also posted here, and that article gives a little more insight as to how long they were both out of service. (Bauer Road is now one of the bridges in the Calhoun County Historic Bridge Park, Monroe Road was dismantled and put into storage in 2001.) 50 feet for a through truss - mentioned for THIS bridge - seems awfully small, though.

The 1983 seems to be the epilogue to this bridge's story. And it makes me wonder if we should expect to see a Babcock Road entry soon. ;)

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Lansing State Journal

June 28 1981

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Lansing State Journal

December 25 1983

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Do you have a Theory ? I'm Intrigued.

Posted December 30, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

...maybe? Seems like an awfully long time to be just left to rot in an already-collapsed condition - 15 years, at a minimum.

Posted December 30, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Not a fan of the 40-year gap in available views for this location, but the 1999 Aerial clearly shows it's gone.

Posted December 30, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Thanks Mike ! I wonder if the remnants of the bridge were left to rot ?

Posted December 30, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Punching this location into Historic Aerials turns up something surprising: Both 1970 and 1981 show that something is still there! It's not until 1993 that there's clearly no longer anything there. (There are no views between any of those years.)

Either those views are wildly inaccurate for whatever reason, or there may be a hidden later chapter to this bridge that we don't yet know.

Posted December 30, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Eep...this one may have been removed as far back as 1999. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if in fact that was the year.

Some of the views of this location on Historic Aerials aren't that great for determining whether it's there or not (which I'm quickly finding is common in locations with plenty of tree cover), but the 1999 view is pretty conclusive. (1981 still shows it there, 1993 is far too blurry to be conclusive either way.)

Also, the three available NBI ratings for this bridge are from 1991, 1999, and 2010. 1999 still gives actual ratings (both super- and substructure are rated Imminent Failure), while 2010 does not. This is just my hunch, but it seems like a report will have specific ratings if the bridge is still there, whereas if none of the three structure features have a rating, that points to it being gone. (2010's Aerial, incidentally, also clearly shows it being gone.)

Posted December 23, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

One interesting thing is that if you look at the latest StreetView for this (updated to May of this year) and turn towards the 7th Street bridge, you'll see that bridge raised.

Posted December 23, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

It should be noted that Military Street has history with multiple highways.

At the inception of Michigan's trunkline system, this route originally served as Trunk Line 31. (There is no corresponding "M-31" today, probably due to the existence of US 31.) https://img.lib.msu.edu/exhibits/map/MIRoadMaps/1919-lp.jpg

In 1926, M-29 is relocated to Port Huron and replaces M-31.

In 1933, M-29 is replaced in Port Huron with US 25. http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/M-029.html

In 1963-64, US 25 is relocated to run concurrently with I-94, and this route becomes Business US 25. http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/HistoricUS-025pg2.h...

Between September 26, 1973, and February 28, 1974, US 25 is de-commissioned in Michigan, with the Business Route becoming an extension of M-25.

Finally, in 1987, M-25 is scaled back to end where it does today, with Business Loops I-69 + I-94 taking its place here. http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/M-025.html

So...yeah. This only served the Business Loops of 69 & 94 for its last four/five years before its replacement, and those were the SIXTH (!) different highway designation for this road.

Posted December 22, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

http://www.michiganhighways.org/indepth/M-35_huronmtns.html

Scroll to the bottom on this page to find a few additional photos of this bridge, which is referred to as the Steel Bridge for whatever reason. Two of them are from a May 2003 flood, one which BH 53429 (on CR 550) also survived.

Posted December 22, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/US-031.html

Completed on November 11, 1924, and removed in 1960 shortly after its successor was completed.

Relevant entries in the above listing are June 30, 1927 (the date that U.S. 31 replaced what had been the original M-11) and June 12, 1959.

Posted December 22, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

The Figg connection and Florida fiasco had been brought up by multiple residents many times over. All it accomplished was a pledge from the city that Figg would not be involved with any work UBP does here, and that apparently UBP is no longer involved with Figg. That said, the proposed contract does not specify an engineering firm.

But yes, this was brought up to the city - how could it not be? - and they voted for UBP anyway.

Posted December 22, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The company that the city sold this bridge to is a private firm with very little information on who owns and funds the company. United Bridge Partners has very litle information https://unitedbridgepartners.com/company/ however I learned they are owned by another private company called American Infrastructure Funds, http://www.aimlp.com/pages/companies and buried on that page I found that United Bridge Partners works with 2 engineering/construction companies, Figg Group, and Lane Construction: http://www.aimlp.com/ajax/portfolio/42

Figg Group was the engineering firm who was responsible for the design of the concrete truss bridge which collapsed in Florida. According to the NTSB Accident Report, not only was the design of this bridge faulty, extremely obvious signs of imminent collapse (concrete cracks so wide you could stick a ruler inside) were ignored, representing a disregard for safety.

Posted December 22, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

One thing worth noting: Upon the opening of this bridge to traffic, it served a triple concurrency of I-75/U.S. 23/U.S. 10. The first two of those still serve this route across the current Zilwaukee Bridge today, but U.S. 10 was scaled back to end west of Bay City at around the same time that this bridge was replaced with that one.

http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/US-010.html

Posted December 20, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Replacement has now been delayed by MDOT due to what they've cited as skyrocketing costs; there now is not a certain timeframe for when it would commence.

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151--515253--,00.html...

For their part, the city now has it slotted for 2021-2023. We'll see if that proves to be the case.

Posted December 19, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

So, it turns out that the only reason this bridge exists in the first place is because U.S. 131, in its earliest years, was re-routed along Northland Drive such that the road ran underneath the railroad.

From its inception in 1926 up until October 3, 1930, U.S. 131 ran along 180th Avenue just to the west of this. It was on the 1930 date that 131 was re-routed - subsequently this bridge was built, and so forth. This remained the route of 131 until 1980 when the freeway was completed and open to traffic in this area.

The railroad actually originally began as the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, but this bridge never served that line, as the Pennsylvania RR bought them in 1918. They were then bought by MDOT in 1975, and it looks like it largely ceased running as a railroad in 1984, save for a portion from Cadillac to Petoskey.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Rapids_and_Indiana_Railr...

The Michigan DNR then began converting the railroad into the White Pine Trail in 1994. Accordingly, they officially have jurisdiction/ownership over the Trail, though its upkeep largely has to fall on volunteers.

Posted December 18, 2019, by Daniel Watters (Drwatters3 [at] gmail [dot] com)

My father used the 6th street bridge regularly to get from the foundry to the bar. The foundry was on the east side of the river. The bar was in Carrollton on the west side.

Posted December 18, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Video from both the City Commission meeting and from the Finance & Policy Committee meeting right before that (essentially a second Commission meeting) is now up (the meetings that are dated 12/16).

If you dare...!

https://www.baycitymi.org/129/Agendas-Minutes

Posted December 18, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This is a betrayal of democracy. To take a taxpayer funded resource and a transportation resource required for the normal process of living in a civilised society and sell it to a private corporation and start tolling it. This is like going back to the turnpike era of the 1800s. Why not go back to horse and buggy too?

Posted December 17, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

You're welcome Mike !

Posted December 17, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Here's where it gets a bit confusing for me, or at least it did at first.

The article gives a total length of 1,642 feet, with a width of 20 feet, plus also sidewalks on each side that were each 6 feet wide.

Hyde's 1976 inventory, on the other hand, gave a total length of just 628 feet with an overall width of 35 feet. (For that matter, his listing didn't include a builder.)

Not much difference in the width, but the overall length? I suspect Hyde didn't include stretches on land in his calculation, whereas the article does. Plus also, the Independence Bridge that replaced it has a total length of 1,211.3 feet for the bascule and another 209 feet for the fixed span that goes over Water Street right to its south (total: 1,420.3 feet).

So, 1,642 feet sounds more likely.

Posted December 17, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Ha, I'll take that over a passing citation from 2011. Thanks Melissa!

Posted December 17, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Mike, I hope this helps.

Posted December 17, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Detroit Free Press

November 4 1892

Posted December 17, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Detroit Free Press

February 23 1893

Posted December 16, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

This states that, like the Third Street and Cass Avenue bridges, this too was built by the Milwaukee Bridge and Iron Works:

https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/2011/03/history_of_bay_c...

I'm hoping to verify this either through the Historical Society or another source.

Posted December 16, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)
Posted December 16, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw-bay-city/2019/12/bay-city...

Just came from this meeting. They passed it unanimously. This will be demolished upon completion of its replacement, which is said to be by 2024.

Posted December 14, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Clark is correct, this clearly is NOT a concrete arch bridge.

Posted December 14, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Mike,

This isnt a historic bridge so appearance probably wasn't a major concern. For historic bridges we would expect to see MDOT use a 2 tube rail, or perhaps an R4 Retrofit if that railing type was present. For concrete balustrades used from 1927 to 1932, those can sometimes be replaced in kind. The balustrade railing on this bridge is not a replica its basically a Texas Rail.

Posted December 14, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Luke,

That is correct which is why i assume the 1902 date is likely the correct date with a 1907 addition of the girder.

Posted December 14, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

For those not understanding the comment Mike made, in Michigan bridge plaques often list and title the bridge based on on the funding source at the top of the plaque thus at the top of this bridge the plaque reads Federal Aid Bridge

Posted December 14, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Mike,

That information from Hyde is incorrect. The CR 510 bridge in Marquette County is longer as are some of the continuous and cantilever truss spans.

Posted December 14, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Sadly, this one may be facing an uncertain, if decidedly un-promising, future as well. On July 10, 2018, the Misteguay Creek Intercounty (IC) Drainage Board voted two to one in favor of accepting a settlement crafted by Albee Township and Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner Brian Wendling. That settlement clears an obstacle against moving forward on a creek drainage project which would include, among other things, removing this bridge.

https://tricountycitizen.mihomepaper.com/articles/misteguay-...

That proposal, by the way: https://www.maplegrovetownship.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/0...

Incidentally, the three counties that are party to the board are Saginaw, Genesee, and Shiawassee, and Shiawassee were the ones to vote against.

No idea if anything has actually been done since this vote.

Posted December 14, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Mentioned in the comments regarding the Fergus Road replacement at Fairchild Creek (not listed here, but is listed on Historic Bridges...incidentally Nathan, you can sadly drop the X on that one now), is some update for this location:

https://www.facebook.com/scrcroads/posts/2678348798851549

Of note: When this one closed, they were using Fergus as a detour route...up until it came time to start THAT project! Suffice it to say that people aren't happy with the ever-shifting detours.

Posted December 12, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

So, the timeline should now reflect:

The first bridge lasted from 1864-October 28, 1885 after it partially collapsed.

The second bridge lasted from 1886-1904 before being moved upriver to Sixth Street.

The third bridge, and first of two bascules, lasted from 1905-1938.

The fourth bridge, and second bascule, lasted from 1938-1973. Somewhere close to 1973, I believe the city consciously chose to end commercial shipping traffic on the river, at least past a certain point. It's why both this current span and the one over Johnson Street, just north of here, are fixed spans now.

Kind of a bizarre twist of fate that, of the five Genesee bridges, this current one is the one that's lasted the longest.

Posted December 12, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)
Posted December 12, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

I can't tell for sure whether this would have been a deck girder like the 1905 bridge or if it would've been a stringer.

https://books.google.com/books?id=4YBJh5f8MsIC&lpg=PT161&pg=...

Posted December 12, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Worth noting that Cleveland Road didn't actually become M-57 until just a few years before this bridge's replacement.

http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/M-057.html

Posted December 12, 2019, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I figured that I would rephrase my previous comment to better explain what I mean. As Luke pointed out, this bridge has been rebuilt multiple times. The original bridge at this location might have actually been built in 1865 but the span featured in this photograph is clearly a much newer bridge.

1860s truss bridges are generally constructed of cast iron members, not built up beams. The span featured in this photograph is much more consistent with a turn-of-the-century bridge as opposed to a Civil War era bridge.

Posted December 12, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The unique design of the plaque identifies this bridge as having been built by the Attica Bridge Company of Attica, Indiana. They were founded about 1897 and continued until around 1913 when they relocated to East St. Louis, Illinois. The large lattice struts were also commonly used by them.

Posted December 12, 2019, by Luke

From Mike's own link "About 1885 it was bought by the Central Bridge Co., rebuilt, and used by cars of the Union Street Railway" and the page after that yields a caption stating "In 1911 the Bristol Street Bridge was totally rebuilt by the street railway company at a cost of $30,000."

Posted December 11, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

This was, unsurprisingly, NOT built in 1900 - it actually dates to 1865.

https://books.google.com/books?id=4YBJh5f8MsIC&lpg=PT161&ots...

Posted December 11, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hyde's 1976 inventory refers to this as the longest single-span truss in Michigan.

Posted December 11, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

This was listed in Hyde's 1976 inventory but is gone by the time of the 1992 NBI, so its replacement with the street-level railroad crossing has to be somewhere between the two.

Posted December 11, 2019, by Luke

Truss is too heavily built for it to be the 1888 original.

Posted December 11, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hyde's 1976 inventory has this as originally built in 1888 rather than in 1902 - except for the girder span, that does date to 1907. That might also be the only part of this that was built by American Bridge Co.

https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=t2RRAAAAMAAJ&printse...

Posted December 11, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Heh, Hyde's 1976 inventory refers to this as "Federal Aid Bridge" (with quotation marks).

Posted December 10, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Who thought this was a good idea, the "median"-style railings in addition to the modern-style balustrades?

This seems to be an early example of use of the latter, and I can see why there's two railing types there; there's a sidewalk on one side. But the median railings ruin any attempt at aesthetics here.

I mean, we're already not fans of UCEBs to begin with - but this is another example of sticking out like a sore thumb even among those.

Posted December 10, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Ha, wow. So this was an actual rail bridge for just 13 years... O_o

I'd understand it a little more if it was in fact more like 1929-30 rather than 1928 - I.E. if the real reason it ended was due to the Depression. But to call it a day even before then?

Posted December 9, 2019, by Luke

According to https://www.chicagorailfan.com/grrhist.html the Michigan Railroad Co. abandoned their private ROW in 1926 for streetcar routes, ultimately ending service in totality in 1928.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan:

Hyde's 1976 inventory confirms your theory, this was indeed a Smith Co. bridge. It also offers that this was originally built for Genesee Avenue further downstream, until being moved to Sixth Street in 1904.

Also, Hyde has the exact same photo for this in the inventory; it either dates to that specifically or goes back even farther.

Incidentally, I once visited the north end of the river at this site, and it looks like even the abutments were removed.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hyde's 1976 inventory lists this as a State Reward bridge, but it doesn't give a number. Best I can guess is it's somewhere above 53, as #53 is BH 19986 in Calhoun County.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Anyone know when Michigan Railway ceased operations? Had to have been by the 70s at the latest, Hyde's 1976 inventory already refers to this as serving pedestrian traffic.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

According to Hyde's 1976 inventory, this was said to have been built by a contractor named Griffon, and a stone inside the arch reads, "H.B. Ledyard, Pres. - L.D. Hawks, Engineer".

I have no idea what entities any of those people would have been associated with. Only posting them here on the off-chance that someone else might know...?

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

So, the highway designations - or should I say changes - in the city of Niles are said to be rather numerous, probably enough to give you a headache.

But what I've been able to determine is that Main Street originally used to serve U.S. 112 (which was decommissioned at the beginning of 1962) until around September 1956, when the Business Route took its place there. In 1962, Business 112 became Business 12. That stood until March 2010, when Business 12 was decommissioned from Niles, and M-139 took its place.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)
Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

On the edit page, the protocol is:

"Enter the names of the known companies, contractors, and engineers that helped construct the bridge. Put each name on its own line. However, don't include politicians and officials that might be mentioned on plaques but had little to do with the actual construction of the bridge."

Where would the then-current City Engineer (Charles W. Darline) fall under this guideline?

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm extrapolating from BH 52040, and based on this being listed in Hyde's 1976 inventory as a NYC RR line, that this is a Norfolk Southern line today; please correct if this is not the case.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Incidentally - notes on other bridges nearby:

The bridge that serves M-13 is a prime candidate for an Ugly Bridge listing - even among UCEBs, it sticks out like a sore thumb for its asymmetry. (Who thought that was a good idea?)

A friend of mine who lives nearby mentioned to me that there used to be another bridge here - this one would have ostensibly connected what is now Old Kawkawlin Road across the river (nowadays, the south segment of that road runs west to M-13, you have to turn on 13 and go across the Ugly Bridge, then turn east to get to the north segment). She wasn't able to tell me anything about it, though, only that apparently there used to be one there.

Posted December 9, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'd be curious to know when exactly this was closed to railroad traffic.

Charles Hyde's 1976 inventory of historic engineering and industrial sites in Michigan's Lower Peninsula - available free on Google Books! - states the following for this:

"This bridge consists of four spans, each 40 feet long, resting on concrete piers and abutments. The northernmost and southernmost spans are deck girders, while the two middle spans are through-plate girders."

It wouldn't be a stretch for through-girders, if they had been there, to have since been removed, thus the sparse railings that are now there.

The inventory also cites the Detroit Bridge & Iron Works as the builder.

Posted December 7, 2019, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

The tops of columns are sometimes flared to reduce the stress concentration at the corner. This looks like a slab resting on flared columns.

Posted December 6, 2019, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Iíve never seen one like this. It doesnít look like a true arch, but what is it? A slab with decorative piers?

Posted December 4, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hmmm. The R4 railings on the small approach span are intriguing, and if original, would point to a build time somewhere in the 1930s for the entire thing.

The old M-65 bridge in Iosco County, also a Parker, was built in 1931 and also has a blended sort of build, though it has concrete balustrade on the approaches instead of the R4 design.

That said, the Iosco bridge served road traffic until 2003, whereas this (per the NBI) was replaced in 1978, which raises these points in my mind:

-If the R4 approaches were original, could something have happened to this bridge in or not long before 1978? Only 40-some years of service would suggest it wasn't replaced "just because".

-Maybe the R4 approaches weren't original, thus the Parker truss was older?

Posted December 4, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

Oddly enough, there's a historic mansion just a couple blocks northeast of this bridge that is now the focus of a volunteer restoration project. https://www.facebook.com/CharlesLeeMansion/

Seeing this bridge out the window whilst in the mansion for a clean up day today, I decided to take a few minutes after we broke for the day to take a few pictures.

Posted November 17, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The bridge is still standing in the image i see on google. The south half looks like its missing because its in the shade and looks black.

Posted November 17, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Local Bridge Program is a application process to MDOT by counties. Sometimes MDOT grants the money other times they do not. Some bridges in rural counties are applied for annually by counties and annually rejected by MDOT. I am not sure if the county application was ever funded by MDOT.

Posted November 17, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

"Bridge Status: This bridge's owner has applied for 2013 Local Bridge Program demolition funding!"

Six years ago, but I wonder if there's been any change in status since then?

Satellite appears to be a really bad rendering in this area, like there's a piece of the bridge on the north side of the river but nothing actually crossing it, except that the imaging doesn't seem natural. It looks more like the bridge might still be there, but the image is abruptly cut off below that north side piece.