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Forest Highway 13 Bridge

Forest Highway 13 Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 19, 2010 and October 23, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Forest Highway 13 Over Sturgeon River
Rural: Delta County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1941 By Builder/Contractor: Alpine Excavating Company of St. Ignace, Michigan and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
34 Feet (10.3 Meters)
Structure Length
105 Feet (32 Meters)
Roadway Width
29 Feet (8.84 Meters)
3 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 a remarkably unaltered example of an early Michigan State Highway Department curved t-beam. The highway department designed a limited number of curved t-beams during the 1940s, but the design found the most widespread use in the late 1950s and early 1960s as expressway overpasses. As such, this is an uncommon example of a curved t-beam that crosses water rather than a highway.

The bridge is also noteworthy for its unusual variation of a common railing design. The bridge has railings that include Michigan's type R4 standard railing panels. The posts for this bridge are unusual however. The typical R4 railing could be built with concrete posts and metal posts. The concrete posts had a keyhole design inset into them, except for the early concrete posts which had a different pattern. In contrast, the metal posts had strips of metal attached to them for decoration. However this bridge is different from those two designs. Instead, it has metal posts, but the metal has an inset keyhole for decoration (similar to the concrete posts) in place of the metal strips.

Delta County is seeking Local Bridge Program funding to rehabilitate this bridge for 2013. HistoricBridges.org applauds this effort, and agrees that rehabilitation is an appropriate course of action for this bridge. However, HistoricBridges.org urges Delta County and MDOT to revise the existing plan to remove and replace the beautiful and unusual railings on this bridge. Instead, the existing railings should be repaired as needed, with crash tested barriers placed in front of the original railings to protect the historic railings and increase bridge safety. There appears to be sufficient space between the curb and the R4 railings to perhaps place an independent set of railings, such as MDOT's two-tube guardrail design.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Forest Highway 13 Bridge

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