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Michigan Railway Grand River Bridge

   


Michigan Railway Grand River Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Randy Mulder

Bridge Documented: July 20, 2010
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Rail-Trail) Over Grand River
Location
Grand Rapids: Kent County, Michigan
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Movable: Swing (Center Pier) and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1914 By Builder/Contractor: Toledo Bridge and Crane Company of Toledo, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
200 Feet (60.1 Meters)
Structure Length
680 Feet (207.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
12 Feet (3.7 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View a 1915 Article About the Michigan Railway

This bridge is a deck plate girder swing bridge, although for the majority of its history the bridge has functioned as a fixed bridge, since the need for movable bridges on the Grand River ended shortly after it was built. All the machinery of the swing has been removed, with only the main gear, rollers, and circular pier identifying one of the spans as a swing span. The bridge originally served the Michigan Railway, which was an electric interurban facility that also included the Gillette Bridge. The metal structures seen on the sides of the bridge are what is left of the towers that held the overhead electric lines to power the trains. The system was built to such high standards that this bridge was used by conventional trains for decades after the interurban went out of business. The bridge later stood abandoned for many years, but was converted into a rail-trail facility in 2010.

Information and Findings From Historic American Engineering Record Survey

Discussion of Bridge

This swing bridge was erected to carry the Michigan Central Railroad over Market Street and the Grand River. The builder was the Toledo Bridge and Crane Company of Toledo, Ohio. It is a simple steel girder bridge, 12 feet wide and approximately 680 feet long. it consists of two parallel steel girders, eight feet high, with six inch steel I'beams as crossmembers supporting the roadbed. There are four spans resting on concrete piers and abutments. Proceeding from east to west, the first span (crossing Market Street and extending over the Grand River) is 200 feet long, the next span is 100 feet long, the swing span in 200 feet long, and finally, the westernmost span is l80 feet in length. The swing span is no longer moveable and the line itself has been abandoned for at least a decade.

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