This historic bridge passed over an abandoned rail line that was turned into a rail-trail. The rail-trail remained unimproved for many years. They had however paved the section this bridge passed over recently around the time the bridge was demolished. As such, it seems the demolition of the bridge happened in conjunction with the rail-trail. CN Railroad provided a very short and uninformative response simply saying that the bridge was removed because the bridge was not needed and was safer. No mention was made of the historic or aesthetic value of the bridge. Regardless of who wanted rid of the bridge, it is disappointing that the officials of Imlay City as well as the rails-to-trails people, did nothing to try to save the bridge. At the very least, this bridge should have been relocated. It could have even been placed on the ground as an exhibit, with interpretive signage placed by it. This would have been a zero-cost solution, short of creating the sign to put next to it. The bridge was significant, since it was an uncommon documented example of the work of the Detroit Bridge and Iron Company, with an intact plaque on the bridge. With a 1901 construction date, it was a fairly old example, and was over a century old when demolished.
The bridge sat on concrete abutments, which were wide enough that they appeared to have held a second bridge at some time. The bridge was still frequently used by trains at the time of demolition. GT was still painted on the side of this bridge. CN faded the Grand Trunk Western name out some time ago, but many CN bridges still display GT signs and such.
The loss of this bridge means that there is one less reason to enjoy the rail-trail that someone has put a fair amount of money into. The ugly concrete box culvert tunnel that took the place of the historic bridge will serve only as a canvas for graffiti, as evidenced by the older box tunnel next to it. Families that walk on the trail will no longer have the interest of seeing an old bridge, and perhaps watching a train pass over the 100+ year old structure. Instead, parents will have to deal with their 4 year old daughter asking what some profane word painted on the concrete tunnel means! Not as enjoyable of an experience. Not that graffiti didn't end up on the old bridge and its abutments, but the confined, dark tunnel will feel more secure to people up to no good.
This bridge was an awesome place for rail-fans to photo train engines. On a busy rail-line and at an easy-to-access location, one could get cool photos of train engines crossing the historic structure. The demolition of this bridge, and the apparent lack of effort on Imlay City to do anything with the bridge shows that the city is not really doing much to help itself. The downtown development authority was at one time trying to improve their town for rail-fans. Demolishing historic railroad bridges is not a good way to do that.
This bridge was owned by CN, and was a very active bridge. It passed over an abandoned railroad, which is now used as a hiking trail. This abandoned railway ran from Pontiac to Caseville, and was the Grand Trunk Western Pontiac/Oxford line. This bridge, which passed over that rail line was located near the Vlasic pickle factory that is in Imlay City. This bridge was near an arch bridge that is on the abandoned railroad.
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