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Beach-Garland Street Bridge

Beach-Garland Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 14, 2003 and April 17, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Beach Street and Garland Street Over Flint River
Location
Flint: Genesee County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1921 By Builder/Contractor: Illinois Bridge Company of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
80 Feet (24.38 Meters)
Structure Length
172 Feet (52.43 Meters)
Roadway Width
38 Feet (11.58 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
254238800260B01

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This historic bridge was demolished in Summer 2006.

This bridge was one of a few extremely rare concrete arch bridges in Flint. They are rare because they were built to a Luten patent. Luten arch bridges are very significant and deserve preservation. The Beach-Garland Street Bridge also had significance as a heavily skewed arch bridge. Unfortunately, Flint did not care about this, and they demolished this beautiful historic bridge.

This bridge had deteriorated severely, despite its generous 60 ton posted weight limit. The decay was mainly visible on the cantilevers for the sidewalks, which had nearly completely spalled away in spots, leaving reinforcing rods hanging out. Understandably, there were signs posted at the approaches to this bridge that say "sidewalk closed."

Flint is a city that is turning into a ghost town partly due to the decline of the auto industry. But one has to wonder that if perhaps Flint's ignorance of its attractive historic bridges such as the Beach-Garland Street Bridge, and other areas of heritage and beauty in the city has also discouraged people from wanting to live in Flint. If Flint had preserved its Luten arch bridges, it could today claim to be one of the few cities that still has a Luten arch. Preserving attractions like this arch bridge are key elements that can help to boost the success of a downtown area.

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

Beach Garland / Flint RiverLocated west of Interstate 475, this two-span concrete bridge spans the Flint River in central Flint. Known alternately as the Beach Garland Bridge or the Garland Beach Street Bridge, the structure joins Beach and Garland Streets in the central business district. The bridge has two, heavily skewed, 80-foot, filled spandrel arches by incised lines in the concrete.

"There comes a time in almost every growing and prosperous city when the discovery is made that, due to lack of foresight and planning, there are inadequate provisions to take care of existing traffic conditions or the growing traffic conditions which are bound to develop in the future. The city of Flint, which is close to if not the center of the automobile industry today, finds itself with this as one of its major problems to solve." This statement, although made in 1935 by F.J. Cook and T.C. King, also reflected the city's plight fifteen years earlier, when traffic over the Flint River in downtown Flint was constricted to two major crossings. To help ease the congestion, the Flint City Council in 1920 directed City Engineer Ezra Shoecraft to develop plans and specifications for a new bridge that would cross the Flint between Garland Street on the north and Beach Street on the south. Indianapolis engineer Daniel B. Luten delineated several configurations for the proposed two-span structure, using his patented filled spandrel arch standard.

Work on the bridge was well underway by October 1920 and was completed the following autumn. Michigan Contractor and Builder enthused: "It is beautiful, both from an engineering and architectural viewpoint." Since its opening, the Beach Garland Street Bridge has carried inner-city traffic, with the removal of its original light standards as the only noteworthy alteration.

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