|Furnace Street Bridge||Truss||Furnace Street||Washtenaw County, MI||Manchester||River Raisin|
This bridge is a five panel pin connected half-hip Pratt pony truss. There is v-lacing on the top chord. V-lacing is also on the verticals, and the vertical beams are a lighter weight style that tends to show up on the older bridges. The default 1900 date was given by the Historic Bridge Inventory, suggesting that a definite date could not be located. I would guess that this bridge is a pre-1900 bridge for sure, perhaps as old as the late 1880s. Some bridges, like the 27 Mile Road Bridge and this Furnace Street Bridge have strange rods running under the deck. I am unsure if they are original or not. Strange bracket/hanger objects connect the rods on Furnace Street to the floor beams as the pass under the bridge.
Before I launch into a significant rant about this bridge, I should mention that what has been done here at Furnace Street is better than demolishing the bridge. I would rather see what I saw here than see nothing at all. If you took a good look at the above photo, you probably were expecting me to be irritated. First and perhaps the least significant is the i-beams that have been added like false work to the ends of the bridge. Second, the end posts have been patched poorly, and with no attention paid to historic integrity. Now, the worst thing is the cyclone fencing that makes this bridge look like it leads to a prison or power plant. Huge blockade cyclone fencing prevents even pedestrians from exploring the bridge, not to mention ruining any portal view photos. Even worse, fencing was placed alongside the trusses, from the deck right up to the top chord! This truss-side fencing appears to be older, suggesting it was added while this bridge served pedestrian traffic only. Steel railings block off 3/4 of the bridge at each end behind the cyclone fencing suggesting the bridge was open to pedestrians only for a time. The giant fences in front of that which completely barricade the bridge are much newer, and if you wanted a fence, look to be of high quality. I am not a financial expert, but I would wager that fence did not come cheap. This is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money as much as demolishing the bridge would be. Surely, funding would have been better off going toward a restoration of this bridge. Manchester's primary attraction, according to their welcome signs is some sort of a food-fest, chicken-fest or something like that. When this is a city's main attraction, it is time to consider making the town's abandoned historic bridge the attraction. Manchester should call up the people at Allegan and see how one bridge made a whole theme for a town. Instead, Manchester has chosen to waste money on fencing, plus with the bridge not being maintained it is at risk of collapse, which will cost even more funds when they have to pull the crumpled remains out of the river. It sickens me to think of this, both because of the bridge but also due to the wasted money.