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This bridge is an early example of a pre-stressed concrete
bridge in Michigan, with a 1958 construction date. The bridge retains original
and unaltered R4 style railings.
Pre-stressed concrete was a material and construction method that would go on to become the most common form of bridge construction in the late 20th Century and to the present day. As such, the material has a rather wicked reputation among historic bridge enthusiasts since this form of bridge often replaces historic bridges.
Interestingly, the bridge's deck and superstructure is listed in "poor" condition in the National Bridge Inventory and evaluated as structurally deficient. This bridge hardly made it past 50 years before gaining this evaluation. This calls into serious question claims made by some states like Pennsylvania who claim that historic truss bridges should be demolished and replaced with modern bridges because the new bridges require less maintenance and will last 100 years. Pre-stressed concrete is not a miracle material, is not an excuse to demolish historic bridges, and it deteriorates just like any bridge material especially as long as salt is used to deice roads. The Garfield Road Bridge suggests that pre-stressed concrete is far less long-lived than the steel and concrete found in many historic bridges.
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