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118th Avenue Bridge

Monroe Road Bridge

118th Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Randy Mulder

Bridge Documented: June 30, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
118th Avenue (Monroe Road) Over Swan Creek
Location
Rural: Allegan County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1926 By Builder/Contractor: Townsend-Shuttleworth-Ballmer Company of Lansing, Michigan and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
48 Feet (14.63 Meters)
Structure Length
50 Feet (15.24 Meters)
Roadway Width
22 Feet (6.71 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
03200018000B020

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

Learn about Michigan's Unique Concrete Camelback Bridges

This bridge is the oldest of three curved chord through girders in Allegan County. All three are 50 foot examples. All three bridges should be considered historically significant, and all three carry a moderate volume of traffic and have a structural condition that makes preservation feasible, and as such these bridges deserve nothing less. With concrete bridges, it is better to schedule rehabilitations before deterioration becomes advanced, so the time to plan for a rehabilitation of this bridge should be now. This bridge crosses the creek where a small dam is also located. The bridge is located in a State Game area, and there is a boat launch and picnic area to the south of the bridge. Beautiful views of the bridge can be had south of the bridge from this area. As such, the bridge is a contributing asset to this public hunting and park-like area.

Michigan's Concrete Camelback Bridges

All of Michigan's surviving curved chord through girders should be considered historically and technologically significant. The bridges are historically significant because they represent a unique and innovative design developed by the Michigan State Highway Department in its earlier years of bridge construction.

The bridges should be considered technologically significant as well. By incorporating a curve into the design, Michigan State Highway Department not only increased the efficiency of the design, they also greatly increased the aesthetic value of the bridges. The graceful curves of this bridge type, complemented by architectural details such as inset rectangles make them among the most aesthetically pleasing of bridge types ever encountered. Straight chord through girder bridges are generally considered among the more plain and less visually appealing types of historic bridges. The aesthetic qualities of the curved girder bridge, those qualities being an integral and functional part of the bridge and not a decorative facade, should be considered to be a technologically significant feat: an extremely effective union of function and form.

Statewide, very few examples of this bridge type have been preserved or have evidence of a preservation commitment. Further, the number of examples of this bridge type have been dropping rapidly over the years. Considering that in recent years, Michigan has begun to emerge as a leader in truss bridge preservation, it is reasonable to consider concrete camelback bridges to be the most threatened type of historic bridge in Michigan.

The bridge type has become rare through attrition in Michigan, and the rarity of the bridges today only adds to the significance of those remaining examples.

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