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Broadway Avenue US-31 Bridge

Broadway Avenue US-31 Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Randy Mulder

Bridge Documented: August 1, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Broadway Avenue Over US-31
Norton Shores: Muskegon County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1959 By Builder/Contractor: Darin and Armstrong, Inc of Detroit, Michigan and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
59 Feet (17.9 Meters)
Structure Length
189 Feet (57.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
48 Feet (14.63 Meters)
4 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is perhaps the most technologically significant of Michigan's beautiful curved t-beam overpass bridges. There are several reasons for this. First, at least among those examples which remain with original R4 type railings and have not been widened with modern beams, this bridge which carries four lanes of traffic appears to be one of the widest surviving examples, if not the widest surviving example. As a wider example, the bridge has a slightly higher degree of technological significance. The primary source of technological significance however is the fact that the bridge's deck and superstructure follows a curve, and furthermore the bridge has super-elevation (in other words, a banked curve) to accommodate driving safety and stability needs associated with this curve. The curve may not be readily apparent to motorists driving on US-31, but anyone on Broadway Avenue can clearly see the curve as well as the super-elevation. Under the bridge, the super-elevation is clearly apparent since the piers have a stepped design such that the beams on one side of the bridge are higher than those on the other side. Thus, the Broadway Avenue Bridge is further distinguished as one of the only examples, if not the only example, of a curved t-beam with a super-elevated, curved deck as well.

Because of the aforementioned abnormalities in this particular bridge's design, this structure stands out among Michigan's remaining curved t-beam overpasses as an unusual and complex example of its type. It is further significant for its high degree of historic integrity including original railings and plaques. Furthermore, at the time of photo-documentation, this bridge did not even have modern Armco guardrails plastered onto the R4 railings like most of the remaining curved t-beams that retain original R4 railings. As bridges such as this one age and historic bridge inventories are updated, this particular bridge should be found eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in the near future.

Michigan's curved t-beams represent some of the most beautiful limited access highway (freeway) bridge work conducted in the mid-20th Century. The use of gracefully curved t-beams combined with Michigan's uniquely decorative R4 railing standard resulted in an overpass that was aesthetically superior to overpasses being built in other states during the same period in history.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Broadway Avenue US-31 Bridge

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Maps and Links: Broadway Avenue US-31 Bridge

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