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Grand River Avenue Red Cedar River Bridge

Grand River Avenue Red Cedar River Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 15, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Grand River Avenue (M-43) Over Red Cedar River
Rural: Ingham County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1924 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Structure Length
89 Feet (27.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
46 Feet (14.02 Meters)
2 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 looks like an ugly modern bridge on top. However underneath the bridge is a more interesting story. Based on what was observed under the deck, what follows is a description of what appears to have happened with this bridge, and what the resulting construction details were. In 1924, a two span concrete through girder was built. The bridge probably provided a two lane roadway of 20 feet  It may have been a curved chord or straight chord girder. Only a short number of years later, increased traffic on this bridge resulted in a need for a wider bridge with more lanes. Because the concrete girder was only a little over 10 years old, it was still in good condition. However, concrete through girders by design cannot be widened. Therefore, a construction project removed the girders, except for the bottom chord of the girders, which was below the deck. The deck itself along with the floorbeams was retained. Just outside of the former concrete girder locations, riveted steel deck plate girders were added to the bridge, along with some associated floor beams. This installation took the place of the removed concrete girders in terms of bearing the load that the concrete girders once did. Now, with the superstructure all below the deck, it was possible to widen the bridge. On each side of the plate girder, steel stringers were added which allowed for the deck to be wider. There may have been a concrete encasement added to the outermost stringer, which would have been common in 1932. In more recent years, it appears this concrete encasement was replaced since today their is new concrete acting as encasement on the bridge. It may have even been replaced in-kind, since the encasement seen today has had architectural detailing added which is normal for modern bridges, but would have been in keeping with 1932. If this encasement seen today does indeed replicate the original, that would be unusual since this bridge isn't even considered historic by MDOT.

Further insight into the history of this crossing appears in the below historical photo showing a two span concrete girder at this site constructed in 1916. It is not known if this girder might in fact be the concrete girder remains contained within the bridge, or if it was replaced with another concrete girder in 1924, the construction date given by the National Bridge Inventory. It is entirely possible that the NBI is wrong and the bridge really was built in 1916.



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