Following the Kalamazoo River upstream in the town of Albion, the river splits into two branches just a ways north of East Erie Street, the North Branch and the South Branch. At East Erie Street, the two branches are parallel each other, both assuming a north-south orientation. Heading east on East Erie Street from M-99 (Superior Street) you cross the South Branch Kalamazoo River and then the North Branch Kalamazoo River. As a result you cross two separate bridges. Each of these two bridges has another two bridges, one on each side of it serving sidewalk traffic. Usually sidewalks are integrated with the highway bridge, but this is not the case here. With the South Branch crossing, the highway bridge is historic, but the sidewalk bridges are not. With the North Branch crossing, the highway bridge is not historic, while the two sidewalk crossings are.
MDOT has a page for an East Erie Street Bridge crossing the Kalamazoo River, not specifying which branch. The photo they included is of the sidewalk bridge on the North Branch crossing. The North Branch sidewalk bridges and the South Branch highway Bridge are both considered historic.
The North Branch sidewalk bridges are simple concrete structures. They resemble concrete through girder bridges with their high concrete sides with inset rectangles for modest decoration. MDOT listed a 1908 construction date for these bridges, the same as the highway bridge.
The North Branch Highway Bridge was a steel beam bridge. It featured unusual concrete railings for guardrails. These railings were also used to edge the river in this area. The bridge has a 16 ton weight limit posted. The steel was badly rusted, although blue paint was still visible on the bridge.
In the photo gallery, for the sake of clarity, the North Branch Sidewalk Bridge is referred to as the Historic Sidewalk Bridge and the South Branch Highway Bridge is referred to as the Historic Highway Bridge.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
This is an unusual bridge design in that the sidewalks on both sides of the roadway are distinct, separate structures.
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This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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