Sometimes Thomson Road shows up on maps as Thompson Road.
Some people unfamiliar with their history may wonder what this bridge is going over, and why an open field is present all of a sudden here also. MDOT provides a good historic overview of this area, but in short, there used to be a rail-yard here known as "the hump", which is long gone. The bridge remains today as a memory of this past. The bridge itself is both old and significant. The bridge was built in 1919, and is a very early example of t-beam construction. MDOT mentions that it is also unusual because it did not follow the state standard t-beam plan that was available at the time.
This bridge is also noteworthy for an attractive brick deck. Brick decks are surprisingly rare, and very few examples remain today. This bridge retains pole guardrails also. The structure is slightly skewed, which adds to the technological value of the bridge. As a five-span bridge, it is also of significant length.
This is one of the few remaining historic bridges of any kind in Cass County. Despite the fact that it no longer crosses anything, this bridge is worthy of preservation, both as an unusual structure, and a memorial to busier railroading times in this area. The bridge is currently in decent condition, with a 66% sufficiency rating in 2004 in the National Bridge Inventory, which is very high for a bridge of this age, even on a rural road.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
Thompson Road Bridge is eligible for the National Register as an
excellent example of an early concrete T-beam bridge with very good
historical integrity. This grade separation is among the oldest examples
of a concrete T-beam highway bridge in the state.
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