Relocated and reused for pedestrians in a recreation area, this is one of the few preserved truss bridges in northern lower Michigan. Prior to relocation, this bridge was unaltered, and had excellent historic integrity, despite deterioration of the floorbeams and lower chord connections. When the bridge was moved the trusses were narrowed, probably to reduce deck, new floorbeam, and abutment costs. The bridge was painted, but the lower chord section loss was not repaired prior to painting. However one remarkable change was made, and it is not known if it was on purpose or not: they put the trusses up backwards! You read that right, the trusses are BACKWARDS! This is one of the most unusual alterations ever encountered on a truss bridge! Another unfortunate outcome is that the beautiful riveted and original lattice railings were removed from the bridge. Perhaps if someone had left the attractive lattice railings in place on the bridge, then the contractor who erected the bridge would have figured out which way the trusses go! The reversal of the trusses may be the result of a contractor unfamiliar with the history of this very special bridge misinterpreting the design of this bridge. This bridge was one of the early Michigan State Highway Department standard plans for truss bridges. The design is detailed in historical literature linked to on this page. The unique design included interior knee bracing on the vertical members... in other words, the opposite of most pony truss bridges. Most pony truss bridges had outriggers, which was bracing that extended outside the truss lines. C. V. Dewart, who worked for the highway department felt that interior knee braces functioned better for lateral stability than outriggers, so he designed a bridge with interior knee bracing, which this bridge is an example of. It is possible that whoever reassembled this bridge thought the interior knee braces were outriggers.
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