Unlike the demolished and nearly identical Watervliet Road Bridge, this bridge in Hillsdale County has been preserved, with concrete patching and sealing. The work was done in 2005 by Albright Contractors who call themselves "The Bridge Doctors" and specialize in repairs. The work done on the bridge respected the original designs of the structure. As a result, perhaps this historic structure, the last historic concrete arch bridge in Hillsdale County, can remain for people to enjoy for many years to come. It is an important example of early trunk line bridge construction, and is an attractive structure as well. Located on a very rural dirt road, it might come as a surprise that this bridge was built as a trunkline bridge. Some of the early trunkline bridges were not as elaborate as the larger highways constructed in later years. As with this bridge, Burt Road was really just a normal road aligned to the grid that the MSHD simply improved a bit and put signage up for.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
An 1894 atlas shows a thoroughfare following the present route of Burt Road, presumably carried across Silver Creek by a previous structure. At the time of the present bridge's construction, this unpaved section of Burt Road formed part of State Highway No. 308, which ran east-west. Identified by the bridge plate as Trunk Line Bridge No. 237, the structure was built by the state highway department during Frank F. Rogers's term as commissioner. The plate also names Beighton and Spaulding, a company based in Pioneer, Ohio, as the contractor.
The bridge's design is apparently based upon the highway department's standardized plan for reinforced concrete arches, which was presented in the department's 1914 Fifth Biennial Report. The 1916 report contains a photograph of a similar 40-foot span in Berrien County, the North Watervliet Road Bridge, which is still extant and is also eligible for the National Register.
Statement of Significance
Trunk Line Bridge No. 237 is eligible for the National Register as a well-preserved, early example of a concrete-arch bridge built according to a state highway department standard plan.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos
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