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Ball Road Bridge

   


Ball Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2006
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Ball Road Over Little Salt Creek
Location
Rural: Midland County, Michigan
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1901 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
41 Feet (12.5 Meters)
Structure Length
42 Feet (12.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
13 Feet (4 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
56307H00002B010

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This Bridge No Longer Exists!

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge was demolished by the Midland County Drain Commission!

Thanks to the Midland County Drain Commission, the entire state of Michigan now has no bedstead truss bridges. At the time of demolition, sometime after 2006, this was the only surviving example of a bedstead truss bridge in Michigan. Bedstead truss bridges are a very rare type of truss bridge that were built mostly from 1890 to 1915 and were a low-cost alternative to more durable bridge types. The unique design employed a vertical end post that extended below the deck and acted as a support for the bridge. This greatly reduced the size of the abutment needed for the bridge. Abutments are often one of the most costly parts of a bridge, so this represented a significant cost savings. In the long run however, bedstead truss bridges fell out of favor. The legs of the bedstead bridge were susceptible to damage from floods, which could damage them which could in turn cause the whole bridge to collapse.

This bridge was an outstanding example of a bedstead truss bridge. The only noteworthy alteration was the loss of original pipe railings, meaning the bridge had good historic integrity.

The Midland County Drain Commission decided one day to demolish this bridge. They claimed the bridge was a risk due to flood damage. Why this was their call and not the call of the road commission who actually owned the bridge is unclear. The reason they gave for demolition is a poor reason because while bedstead truss bridges were traditionally susceptible to floods, this bridge had survived long enough to prove itself. There was some minor bending of a couple legs, but overall the bridge was in decent shape. At the very least, the Drain Commission should have had the courtesy to notify the State Historic Preservation Office and others involved with historic bridge prior to demolishing this bridge. This is a bridge that could have been saved with a phone call. There were people in Michigan who likely could have saved this bridge had they been aware the Drain Commission wanted rid of it. However, the Drain Commission demolished the bridge secretly without letting anyone know. The tiny size of the bridge would have made the bridge all to easy to relocate and preserve in a new location.

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Photos and Videos: Ball Road Bridge

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A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
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Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
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Structure Overview
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A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
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View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

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