This bridge is actually wider than it is long! It is also one of the oldest t-beam bridges in Michigan. The structure is not built to any particular standard plan. Michigan Historic Sites Online provides a good description below. The only other item worth adding is that the bridge has a scour condition on its abutments that needs to be corrected, according to the 2010 National Bridge Inventory. A crack was visible on the northern side of the western abutment. Otherwise however, the bridge remains in very good condition and appears to have been rehabilitated in the past. This is a small, yet important structure that should be easy to maintain, and as a result the continued preservation of this structure is sensible and cost-effective.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Sites Online
The M-36 Bridge (originally Ash Street Bridge) is located just west of the historic commercial district of Mason, the county seat of Ingham County. The bridge, which is skewed, is positioned on an east-west axis. A city park is located northeast of the bridge, while primary residential areas lie to the west and southeast. Solid concrete parapet railings with four recessed panels line the roadway; outside panels angled over the wing walls. Sidewalks run along the inside each railway. Bridge construction information is etched into the concrete at the inside center of the north railing.
Statement of Significance
This structure was built by the city of Mason in 1918. Authority for the bridge was presumably turned over to the Michigan State Highway Department when responsibility for trunklines with municipalities was given to the department. Neither the city or county has archival records for the bridge. Because of the unique railing design, this structure does not appear to follow a standard plan developed by the state highway department, which developed its first T-beam plans during the 1913-1914 biennium. W.E. Zimmer, listed as the engineer, may have been the designer. The M-36 Bridge should be considered eligible for the National Register under Criterion C, because of its unique design and because it is among the oldest datable examples of a T-beam bridge in the state.
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