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Townhall Road Bridge

Grout Road Bridge

Townhall Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Randy Mulder

Bridge Documented: June 10, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Townhall Road (Grout Road) Over South Branch Tobacco River
Rural: Gladwin County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1917 By Builder/Contractor: H. Stewart

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
65 Feet (19.8 Meters)
Structure Length
67 Feet (20.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
14 Feet (4.27 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge has been relocated. This page and its photos and maps document the former location of the bridge.

Bridge Status: Relocated to Beaverton School Forest

2018 Update: It appears the bridge has not been reused... yet... as was reported below. It appears that the two truss lines (no floorbeams) are in storage side by side at the Beaverton School Forest Recreation Area at coordinates 43.899745, -84.525645. It is hoped the bridge will eventually be reused as planned.

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

According to maps, the road this bridge is on is called both Grout Road and Townhall Road. This metal truss bridge is located in a county and region which has extremely few metal truss bridges or historic bridges of any kind. Thus, this bridge is regionally rare. This particular example is noted for its extremely high level of historic integrity. Original railings, builder plaque, the truss web, and potentially the deck are all unaltered and original. Its greatest level of significance arises from the fact that it appears it may be the oldest surviving example of a Michigan State Highway Department state standard truss. The county road commission appears to have used the state plans to build this bridge on a county road. The bridge appears to have the details described in historical literature regarding the state standard plan. The key feature is outriggers on the inside of the truss lines rather than the outside.

The bridge was for a number of years closed to all traffic and abandoned. Overall, the truss is in decent condition. However, as is typical in many historic truss bridges that have not yet been rehabilitated, there is severe section loss in the floorbeams and the bottom chord connections. The floorbeams are in the worst shape. However, the replication and replacement of any these deteriorated elements would be all too easy as part of a comprehensive preservation project. The portions of the truss above the deck level appear to be in excellent shape. HistoricBridges.org had this bridge listed as slated for demolition in 2013 for a couple years, but in 2013 some good news occurred when it was learned that as part of the replacement project, the trusses had been moved and put into storage with the intent of preserving them in the Beaverton School Forest, which is apparently a new nature area being created. HistoricBridges.org is happy to hear that this rare surviving example of early bridge standardization will continue to be a part of Michigan's transportation heritage.

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Available


Photo Galleries and Videos: Townhall Road Bridge

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Maps and Links: Townhall Road Bridge

This historic bridge has been relocated and is no longer at this location. See the main bridge page for a link to the new bridge location. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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