This bridge lived in what looked like a concrete world when it
was demolished in 2006. This bridge used to be surrounded by factories, many or all
related to the auto industry. Some of these factories were standing as late as
2003. All that remains
in this area is acres upon acres of concrete. Even the river was filled with
concrete, in a project that MDOT mentions narrowed the crossing, turning this
three span bridge into the two span bridge seen today. Today one might not
imagine a more barren scene, until they realize that now, the last item of note
in the area, the bridge itself, was demolished and replaced with a slab of
The demolition of this bridge was a foolish decision on the
part of Flint. The unused concrete-paved land around the bridge could have been
ripped up, and a park could have been created. Then, the historic bridge could
be restored for vehicular traffic, or bypassed by a new vehicular bridge, with
the historic bridge restored for use of pedestrians in the park. Such a solution
would preserve valuable history and help create a new use for the abandoned land
in the area.
This bridge was extremely rare as an example of a bridge built
under a Luten patent.
Note that the bridge MDOT mentions in Calhoun County has been
demolished as well.
Located just north of M-56, this
concrete bridge carries Chevrolet Avenue over the Flint River. Known locally as the Chevrolet Bridge, the structure is situated next to the old Fisher Body Plant of Chevrolet and was the scene of a sit-down strike at the plant in
The bridge today has two, 75-foot, filled spandrel arches that spring from massive concrete abutments and a pier with bullnosed cutwaters. The elliptical arches
feature tapered, continuous arch rings that are cast integrally with the concrete spandrel walls. The asphalt roadway is carried over earth fill and is flanked on both sides by concrete sidewalks. These are bounded by concrete
guardrails that feature classical, cast-concrete balusters and decorative light standards.
Although the Chevrolet Bridge appears unaltered, it underwent a major change in the late 1960s, when the Army Corps of Engineers
channelized the river as part of the Flint River Flood Control Project. A third arch span was then filled in and one of the original piers incorporated into the concrete channel to form an abutment. Since that time the Chevrolet
Bridge has carried vehicular traffic unaltered.
In the late 1910s and 1020s the City of Flint associated with Indianapolis engineer Daniel B. Luten and the Illinois Bridge Company of Chicago for the design and construction
of several concrete arch bridges to carry city street over Thread Creek, Swartz Creek and the Flint River. Luten designed the bridges, using a design standard that he had patented in 1905, and Illinois Bridge Built the structures.
In April 1917 Luten delineated the Chevrolet Bridge, a three-span arch structure over the Flint River. The city contracted with Illinois Bridge to build the bridge, which was presumably completed the following year.
Statement of Significance
Since that time the Chevrolet Bridge has carried heavy traffic on this important inner-city artery, with its rehabilitation in the 1960s as the only alteration of note. The bridge's Luten configuration, though
typical of Flint bridges, was uncommon among highway bridges in Michigan. The Twelve-Mile Road Bridge in Calhoun County, identified by Charles Hyde as being built by the Illinois Bridge Company in 1907, may be the oldest Luten-design
bridge in the state. The South Cass Street Bridge in Traverse City also uses a Luten configuration. No other Luthen arches outside of Flint have been identified by Michigan's bridge inventories. The Chevrolet Bridge is distinguished
as the oldest of the city's six remaining Luten arch bridges. Although altered, it is a significant Michigan example of this important, though now rare, patented bridge type.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Luten and Unorganized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
Original / Full Size Photos This photo gallery features older ca. 2003-2006 photos taken when the website only included a few photos in original size on the website, and a smaller quantity of reduced size photos as well. This unorganized gallery may partially duplicate photos in other galleries on this bridge's page, however all photos here are available in the Original / Full Size. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
Mobile Optimized Photos This photo gallery features older ca. 2003-2006 photos taken when the website only included a few photos in original size on the website, and a smaller quantity of reduced size photos as well. This unorganized gallery may partially duplicate photos in other galleries on this bridge's page, however all photos here are available in the Original / Full Size. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
Maps and Links: Chevrolet Bridge
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.