Eagle River is home to Keweenaw County's only two surviving metal truss bridges. This bridge is among the longest spanning pony truss span in Michigan, since only a fraction are 80 feet spans or longer. The bridge retains outstanding historic integrity, including builder plaque, original railings, and no noteworthy alterations to the truss. The concrete deck on the bridge may or may not be original, but in either case it is old and the aggregate is local in origin since it is mostly the red stones that are common on the beaches of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for a number of years, but there is local interest in preserving the bridge. Houghton Township acquired the bridge in 2007 and is interested in raising funds to preserve the bridge. According to a sign on the bridge they are accepting donations and if you are interested in helping to support this effort, donations may be sent as follows:
Houghton Township Board, 5059 Fourth Street, Eagle River, MI. 49950 attn: Bridge Restoration or contact (906) 337-5585 or (906) 337-0350 for more information.
A somewhat unusual preservation effort was the addition of an permanent inspection traveler to the bridge, alongside some repairs made to the bridge. This may be the smallest bridge in existence to have its own permanent inspection traveler. Inspection travelers allow an inspector to move under a bridge from one end to the other, while also providing access throughout the entire width of the bridge at any point. The traveler is also useful for accessing and maintaining the bridge. They are generally found only on extremely large bridges where traditional forms of temporary under-bridge access such as an inspection snooper are not economical. Future preservation work that the community would like to undertake would be redoing the deck and repainting the bridge. The rehabilitation design as well as the traveler design was completed by Bill Kallman Engineering. The estimate for the work was $40,000 but ended up costing only $30,000. In addition to the traveler, work included replacing the bridge bearings, patching the concrete deck, placing an overlay on the concrete deck, and installing structural reinforcements. Of interest to those wishing to owning and preserving a historic bridge and the issues associated with it, the liability insurance for the bridge is $1000 a year.
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