3 votes

Smith Crossing Bridge


Smith's Crossing

Posted environmental warnings here. Toxic river.

Photo taken by Janis Ford in October 2013


BH Photo #300121



Pratt through truss bridge over Tittabawassee River on Smith Crossing Road
Midland County, Michigan
Closed to all traffic
Future prospects
Scheduled for restoration to be completed by 2023
Built 1907; Closed 1989
- Joliet Bridge & Iron Co. of Joliet, Illinois
Pinned Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 149.9 ft.
Total length: 301.9 ft.
Deck width: 15.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Bailey Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.56467, -84.18597   (decimal degrees)
43°33'53" N, 84°11'09" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/727260/4827371 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Midland South
Inventory numbers
MINBI 56200072000B020 (Michigan bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory 2010 and before)
BH 20155 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 10, 2014: New photos from Janis Ford


  • Janis Ford


Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted May 4, 2021, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

This would probably be a question for Frank, if he happens to see this -

The 1989 date for the bridge being closed. With the Gordonville/Waldo Road bridge being completed in 1976, would THIS bridge still have remained open to vehicular traffic for the remaining 13 years inbetween? Or did they restrict it to pedestrians only for a time before finally closing it off completely in '89?

Something about that year being given for the closing date is surprising to me.

Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted May 4, 2021, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

It's now official: Restoration is in the works.


An upcoming project will restore a historic local bridge, and further Midland County's connection to the rest of the state.

The Midland County Road Commission (MCRC) was recently approved for a $1.9 million grant for the rehabilitation of the historic Smiths Crossing Bridge over the Tittabawassee River. The project is set for a 2023 completion, according to an MCRC press release.

MCRC begin working to restore the Smiths Crossing Bridge in 2018. With an estimated total project cost of $4.6 million, fundraising efforts to raise the required matching funds will begin soon and run through 2022, MCRC managing director Jonathan Myers said in a statement.

"This new trail will serve as a 'key connector' to, and become part of, the Iron Belle Trail (IBT)," Myers stated. "Extending from Ironwood in Michiganís Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle State Park in Detroit, the IBT has separate hiking and biking routes that together span over 2,000 miles."

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the IBT extends more than 2,000 miles from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit, and crosses through 48 different Michigan counties.

Near the beginning of the 20th century, a ferry service provided a crucial southern link from Midland to Saginaw, the press release states. Known as "Smiths Crossing," it was named after the man who owned and operated the ferry. In 1907, the "Pratt Through-Truss" bridge was erected at the site, becoming "Smiths Crossing Bridge."

The 15-foot-wide structure was the primary crossing until a four-lane bridge was built half a mile upstream in 1976. At 114 years old, Smiths Crossing is one of six surviving bridges of this type in Michigan. The bridge was closed to all forms of traffic in 1989.

The restoration project was made possible through collaboration between MCRC, Midland Area Community Foundation, Spicer Group, Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail Alliance, Iron Belle Trail Foundation, MDOT Transportation Alternatives Program, Ingersoll Township and Midland County Parks and Recreation.

MCRC press release: http://midlandroads.com/Portals/1039/docs/Press%20Releases/P...

Smith Crossing Bridge
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.


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).


The settlement is now currently awaiting court approval.

Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted May 3, 2019, by Mike Kerkau (mjkerkau [at] gmail [dot] com)

On my way to Midland this afternoon, I finally made the side trip to go check this out (along with a couple other places). Coming from the East side, it feels like it suddenly appears in front of you as soon as you round the final curve.

Wow, that barrier is higher in person than I realized. I'm 5 feet 6, and it's as tall as I am.

Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted April 28, 2019, by FRANK FICK (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

A propossed concept restoration as part of a rail trail

Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted April 12, 2018, by FRANK FICK (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)


Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted April 12, 2018, by FRANK FICK (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

Taken 04/11/2018

Smith Crossing Bridge
Posted November 27, 2014, by Frank Fick (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

What it could look like

Tittabawassee River Bridge
Posted March 5, 2012, by Frank Fick (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

Former road commission warns,if you cross the barrier the ashpalt is thin and you could fall thru.

In the early 90's before the barrier I walked it.It was scary then.Plaques were still there then.Ornamentation is going quick,The bridge sits out of the ways.Probably why it is still there.The only unrestored historical truss in Midland county.

Tittabawassee River Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Frank Fick (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

A close up of ashpalt deck

Tittabawassee River Bridge
Posted February 26, 2012, by Anonymous

Smith's Crossing Bailey bridge front view

Tittabawassee River Bridge
Posted February 26, 2012, by Anonymous

Smith's Crossing,Bailey bridge

Tittabawassee River Bridge
Posted February 25, 2012, by Frank Fick (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

Feb picture 2012

Tittabawassee River Bridge
Posted June 26, 2011, by frank fick (fickkats [at] aol [dot] com)

1907 Double span.Jolliet truss.