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Townhall Road Bridge

Beaverton School Forest Recreation Area Bridge

Townhall Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 13, 2021

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pedestrian Walkway Over Unnamed Pond
Location
Rural: Gladwin County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1917 By Builder/Contractor: H. Stewart and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department
Rehabilitation Date
2018
Main Span Length
65.0 Feet (19.8 Meters)
Structure Length
67.0 Feet (20.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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. 

View This Relocated Historic Bridge's Page In Its Previous Location Here

View Historical Articles About This Bridge's Standard Plan Design

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Maps and Links: Townhall Road Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

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Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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