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Cochran Road Bridge

Cochran Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 21, 2009 and November 6, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Cochran Road (BL-69) Over Battle Creek River
Charlotte: Eaton County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1921 By Builder/Contractor: E. C. Nolan and Son of Detroit, Michigan

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Structure Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
27 Feet (8.23 Meters)
1 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 an unusual bridge because it is a Trunk Line Bridge yet does not display typical Michigan State Highway Department details, perhaps because it is a later example of a trunk line arch bridge. Most of Michigan's trunk line arch bridges are among the earliest trunk line bridges in the state, dating to between 1916 and 1920. After that date, other bridge types were more frequently used by the highway department.

This bridge  follows a design that was used in the 1920s (but which are notorious for not listing a construction date) is present on the bridge. The contractor, E. C. Nolan and Son of Detroit built a number of bridges across Michigan in the 1920s and 1930s.

The bridge displays attractive architectural details on the abutments that are designed to compliment and accent the graceful arch shape. A Michigan State Highway Department plaque remains mounted on the outside of the eastern vehicular guardrail.

Two historic photos of the bridge reveal the original, true beauty of this bridge. A photo of the bridge from the 1922 Biennial Report of the Michigan State Highway Department show the bridge in an elevation view. In addition, Michigan Roads and Construction, Volume 19 displayed a view beside the bridge. These photos show original balustrade railings and decorative posts on the bridge. These two photos are shown on this page.

The bridge has some minor surface spalling on the arch and abutment, but the overall structural  integrity of the bridge is very good for its age and continuing function as a trunk line bridge, today a Business Loop for I-69. In contrast, the historic integrity of the bridge has been severely altered by the replacement of its original railings, and the addition of steel stringers for the purpose of a sidewalk on the east side of the bridge. The vehicular railings on the bridge are a design that was used extensively in Michigan in the 1960s and 1970s. The exact date of alteration is not known.

 Preservation work on this bridge could include replacing the existing guardrails with special AASHTO approved concrete guardrails that are also designed to look similar to railings used on concrete bridges during the period this bridge was built.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Cochran Road Bridge

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Maps and Links: Cochran Road Bridge

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