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M-86 Bridge

M-86 Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2006 and March 31, 2013
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
M-86 Over Prairie River
Rural: St. Joseph County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1923 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
90 Feet (27.43 Meters)
Structure Length
90 Feet (27.43 Meters)
Roadway Width
27 Feet (8.23 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This Bridge Is In Storage!

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

This bridge is built to the same state standard plan at the bridge in New Boston. Michigan developed a standard plan for pony truss bridges, but never for through truss bridges, likely due to the lack of many large rivers in the state. This M-86 Bridge does not retain its original railings, but it does retain a plaque on it. This is not the original plaque, however. It is a plaque that was put on when this bridge was moved from some other unknown location to its current location in 1939. The bridge was actually built in 1923 in an unknown location. The bridge is a camelback pony truss with riveted connections. The bridge is in good condition with no weight limit and a coat of white paint on it that has only recently begun to show significant areas of rust. The outside of the south truss has cut rivets, empty rivet holes, evidence of plate that was cut, and remains of brackets that all indicate that once something like a sidewalk, pipeline, or both was mounted on the bridge. This may be from its original 1923 location, and may indicate that the original location was in an urban setting.

As of 2013, MDOT currently wants to replace this historic bridge, but is working an agreement to relocate and reuse the bridge on a county road, specifically Crystal Springs Street over the Dowagiac River south of Dowagiac in neighboring Cass County. This would be an outstanding preservation solution, and is it hoped that this plan will move forward. It would be the third time this versatile bridge has been relocated!

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

The Michigan State Highway 86 Bridge is eligible for the National Register as a good example of a 1920s camelback pony truss. This structure also exemplifies the movability of a truss bridge.

According to limited records, this bridge was originally built in 1923, and was re-built at the present site in 1938-1939 by contractor L. W. Lamb. Bridge plans dated 1938 indicate that the only alteration to the original design was to eliminate two sidewalks, which had been cantilevered outside the trusses. Work was completed as part of a PWA federal relief work project directed by the Michigan State Highway Department. The previous location of the bridge is unknown. It replaced a pin-connected, 82-foot "low type through-truss span" with a 14.67-foot roadway.


Photos and Videos: M-86 Bridge

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