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Jefferson Avenue Bascule Bridge


West Jefferson Ave Rouge River Bridge

Photo taken by C Hanchey in June 2012

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)


View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #234760



Bascule pony truss bridge over Rouge River on W. Jefferson Avenue in Detroit and River Rouge
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan
Open to traffic.
Built 1922; rehabilitated 1982; damaged in collision 2013; Repaired and reopened 2016.
- Hugh E. Young of Chicago, Illinois
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
- Strobel Steel Construction Co. of Chicago, Illinois
Length of largest span: 90.9 ft.
Total length: 248.0 ft.
Deck width: 45.9 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 10, 2000
Also called
West Jefferson Avenue-Rouge River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.28083, -83.12861   (decimal degrees)
42°16'51" N, 83°07'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/324486/4683151 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 1999)
Inventory numbers
MINBI 82200204000B010 (Michigan bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory 2010 and before)
MINEW 12214 (Michigan bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory 2011 and later)
NRHP 00000079 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 20280 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2016)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 68.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 21, 2017: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge is repaired and open to traffic.
  • September 15, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • May 11, 2016: Updated by Andy Peters: adds Facebook "Fix the Damn Bridge" page; adds alternate name; adds pony truss design; adds additional builder
  • December 1, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • May 12, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added builders
  • May 12, 2013: New Street View added by James Baughn
  • May 12, 2013: Updated by Robert Thompson: Added info on 2013 collision

Related Bridges 



Jefferson Avenue Bridge
Posted May 13, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

It seems Section 106 will apply to any repairs/replacement of this bridge. I have only seen a couple crappy newspaper photos and a description from newspapers which can often be inaccurate, but it appears the end panels of the trusses of one leaf were severely damaged, and based on description, possibly may have been damaged or physically shifted in the area of the trunnion. This is all speculation based on the limited sources mentioned above. I will be monitoring this bridge's status closely. If the end panels are damaged on the leaf as it appears, you could consider a project similar to the ongoing Wells Street Bridge in Chicago, and just replace the damaged panels with replicas.

Jefferson Avenue Bridge
Posted May 13, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

I think this guy is in the running for the biggest bonehead award for 2013! Like the Traer Bridge, I'm afraid this bridge will become a victim of stupidity and will be demolished and replaced! ;-C

Jefferson Avenue Bridge
Posted May 12, 2013, by Nathan Holth

How stupid does one have to be to do this? Look out the window and see if the enormous mass of steel called a freighter is no longer visible under the bridge. Then, and only then, lower the bridge. This is not complicated or difficult. What an idiot.

Jefferson Avenue Bridge
Posted May 12, 2013, by Robert Thompson

Bridgetender arrested on suspicion of intoxication.

"Friends don't let friends operate bridges drunk."


Jefferson Avenue Bridge
Posted May 12, 2013, by Robert Thompson (rkt [dot] engineering [at] gmail [dot] com)

Freighter Herbert C. Jackson collides with Jefferson Street Bridge in Detroit. Bridge is impassible until further notice.