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This bridge served what could be called a first generation trunk line road. Serving as a trunk line road during the early years of the state trunk line system, 190th Avenue is a simple dirt road that follows the gridded system of county roads that characterize Michigan's road system, and as such does not look like what later trunk line roads would look like as they curve and realign as needed for a more efficient connection between communities. An example is nearby Northland Drive which would have been the next trunk line alignment for the area that would have served until US-131 expressway was created.
This bridge is Trunk Line Bridge 61, according to its plaque. Only the oldest trunk line bridges featured such this simple sequential numbering system on the plaque. The structure is a very old 1916 example of a concrete through girder bridge in Michigan. As a two-span structure, it is also a fairly long example and a rare multi-span example. The structure is today in fair condition, but it is in need of a restoration if it is to continue to be a historic landmark for the surrounding area in the coming decades.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
Located near the Montcalm County line, this
medium-span concrete bridge carries 190th Avenue over the Little
Muskegon River. The bridge was constructed in 1916-1917 from a MSHD
standard design. It is comprised of a pair of 45-foot, concrete girders
that rest on concrete full-height abutments and pier with bullnosed
cutwaters. The girders support an 18-foot-wide concrete deck in the
through position. Using typically modest MSHD detailing, the bridge
features recessed rectangular panels on the outside walls of the
girders, massive copings on the girders' tops, and bronze "Trunk Line
Bridge" plates mounted on the girders' inside walls. The Little Muskegon
River Bridge has suffered a minor amount of spalling of its copings and
cutwater, but it is unaltered and retains a relatively high degree of
Statement of Significance
By 1930 the through girder had largely fallen out of favor with the state and county highway departments, but before it was discontinued, perhaps hundreds of these utilitarian structures were built throughout Michigan. The Little Muskegon River Bridge in Mecosta County is noteworthy as the oldest known surviving example of a concrete girder bridge designed by the Michigan State Highway Department.
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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