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Michigan Avenue Bridge

Michigan Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: December 26, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Michigan Avenue Over Thornapple River
Hastings: Barry County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1949 By Builder/Contractor: Ruckman-Hansen, Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Engineer/Design: Foster Engineering Company

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
48 Feet (14.6 Meters)
Structure Length
98 Feet (29.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
40 Feet (12.19 Meters)
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This historic bridge was demolished and replaced in 2012!

View Original Plan Sheets For This Historic Bridge

This bridge is a steel stringer that displays interesting aesthetic details that are very uncommon on bridges of this type. The bridge does display Michigan's Type R4 railing panels, the typical railing for this period. However, the concrete railing posts substitute the typical decorative keyhole shaped detail for a different design only found on a few bridges in Michigan. The abutments also feature decorative design including decorative parapets that rise above the deck level to form a continuation of the guardrail system. The overall design of these abutments can be found on a small number of bridges elsewhere in the state, but the detailing on the inside of the parapets may be unique. The pier for the bridge also abandons the typical aesthetic details for bridges of this type and uses a design that matches the style of the abutments. The bridge has a skew of fifteen degrees. Immediately north of the bridge, Mill Street intersects the road with a T intersection, leading eastward. The design of the northeastern abutment parapet accommodates this intersection with a curved design not found on the other three abutment parapets.

For comparison, a bridge that has some but not all of the unusual details of this bridge can be found in Macomb County..

Unfortunately, Hastings has decided to demolish and replace this attractive and distinctive bridge with a mundane pre-stressed concrete box beam bridge. An attempt to make this visually ugly type of bridge look less than ugly has been made by adding Texas rail, a modern concrete barrier that is designed to simulate concrete a design of balustrade railing that was common on historic bridges in Texas and some other states like Indiana. Michigan's old and historic bridges never had a railing similar to this design. The short period where concrete balustrade railings were used in Michigan saw a more open and ornate design of balustrade. As such, the Texas rail is out of context in this location. If Hastings wished to make this replacement bridge look like a historic bridge, they should have looked to the beautiful bridge they decided to destroy. The city could have instead reused the existing type R4 railing panels, and replicated the concrete post design of the historic bridge. The abutment parapets could also have been replicated. To provide a safe, crash-tested barrier, steel "two-tube" railing would be mounted in front of these railings. This process has been employed elsewhere in Michigan.

The previous bridge at this location was a metal seven panel pin-connected Pratt through truss.

Above: Historical Postcard of Previous Bridge

Source: Donald Harrison, http://www.flickr.com/photos/upnorthmemories/6092383123/, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Photo Galleries and Videos: Michigan Avenue Bridge

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Maps and Links: Michigan Avenue Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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