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Swan Drive Bridge

Map 

Description 

This 88' Pony Truss bridge may be the last surviving 88' section of the Old Belle Isle Bridge, which was built betwixt 1887-1889. The majority of that bridge burned on April 27, 1915. In 1916, this span, as well as four other surviving spans, were removed from their supports and moved downstream to be used in a temporary bridge.

When the new steel and concrete George Washington Bridge (now called the McArthur Bridge) opened in 1923, the temporary wood bridge, along with the five 88' pony truss sections from the old Belle Isle Bridge, were removed.

Later in 1923, one section of a 88' pony truss bridge was floated down the Detroit River on a Dunbar and Sullivan barge and erected over the Swan Island Channel that Dunbar and Sullivan had dredged out earlier.

Facts 

Overview
Pony truss bridge over Swan Channel on Swan Drive
Location
Grosse Ile Township, Wayne County, Michigan
Status
Open to traffic
History
Originally built in 1889 ; Moved here in 1923; Rehabilitated 1956
Design
Warren pony truss with all verticals
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 79.7 ft.
Total length: 87.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.10056, -83.17306   (decimal degrees)
42°06'02" N, 83°10'23" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/320311/4663226 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Rockwood
Average daily traffic (as of 1987)
200
Inventory numbers
MINBI 82303H00024B010 (Michigan bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory 2010 and before)
MINEW 12272 (Michigan bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory 2011 and later)
BH 20294 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2015)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 53.4 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 17, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected build date & added info

Sources 

Comments 

Swan Drive Bridge
Posted September 14, 2014, by Steven M. Kish, Jr. (skish271571mi [at] comcasy [dot] net)

The bridge was built between 1889 and 1899 (NOT 1923), to be one of five 88 foot Pony Truss bridge sections that replaced the wooden Belle Isle side of the original bridge. The original wooden section were supported by closely spaced pilings, which forced boaters to row out into the channel. The 88 foot Pony Truss sections were supported by steel framework and were mounted on small pilings, which then allowed boaters to row closer to the Belle Isle shoreline. After the Belle Isle Bridge fire of April 27th, 1915, the five surviving 88 foot Pony Truss sections were floated around 150 foot down stream of the no destroyed bridge, and in 1916 became the part of the temporary Belle Isle bridge. It remained as part of the temporary bridge until the new bridge (called the George Washington Bridge) was completed in 1923. The George Washington Bridge was renamed to the MacArthur Bridge during World War II. Once the new bridge was open, the temporary bridge was disassembled and one of the 88 foot PonyTruss sections was purchased in fall of 1923 by the Swan family of Grosse Ile and floated downriver on a Dunbar and Sullivan barge and erected over the 75 foot wide Swan Island canal that Dunbar and Sullivan had dredged out earlier.

Swan Drive Bridge
Posted July 17, 2013, by Steven Kish (skish271571mi [at] comcast [dot] net)

this bridge was NOT built in 1956. The creosote soaked decking was replaced in 1956 . This 88' Pony Truss bridge may be the last surviving 88' section of the OLD Belle Bridge built between 1887-1889 and that the majority of the bridge sections burned on April 27, 1915. This and four other surving sections were removed from their elevated support and moved downstream and placed on shorter wood piers to connect to the rest of a temporary wood bridge built in 1916 and used until 1923 when the new steel and concrete George Washington Bridge (now called the McArthur Bridge) opened. The temporary wood bridge along with the five 88' Pony Truss sections from the old Belle Isle Bridge were removed in 1923. later in 1923, one section of a 88' Pony Truss Bridge was floated down the Detroit River on a Dunbar and Sullivan barge and erected over the Swan Island Channel that Dunbar and Sullivan had dredged out earlier.