This beautiful little truss bridge is a structure that with a rehabilitation could likely continue to serve the vehicular traffic which uses the dead end two-track road it serves. The bridge is significant as a rare documented example of a bridge built by the Continental Bridge Company. Very few examples of this company's work remain, particularly in Michigan. The bridge retains excellent historic integrity and the metal of the truss is in fair condition, and could easily be restored.
In a region of Michigan with very few metal truss bridges, each of Alger County's remaining truss bridges should be preserved. Instead however, the county road commission has applied for demolition and replacement funding through MDOT's Local Bridge Program. The Local Bridge Program was touted as an improvement to the former MDOT Critical Bridge Program because the Local Bridge Program would also fund repair and rehabilitation, rather than just replacement. In theory this is excellent and is exactly how transportation funding could be reformed. However the program has not been successful in the view of HistoricBridges.org. First, unlike the Critical Bridge Program, the Local Bridge Program does not use any federal money, so historic bridges can be replaced without conducting Section 106. As such, there is no requirement for a county to consider alternatives to the demolition of a historic bridge, nor are they required to mitigate the adverse effect should they choose to demolish a historic bridge. Second, HistoricBridges.org has seen no evidence that the Local Bridge Program's ability to fund rehabilitation and repair is actually being used, particularly with historic bridges. There does not appear to be any incentive to the county to apply for rehabilitation or repair funding versus replacement funds. As a result, the counties just simply apply for demolition and replacement like they always did. After all, in their view, if they can get a brand new expensive bridge just as easily as repairing the existing bridge, they see no reason to go for repair funds. Worse, although MDOT occasionally shows some backbone and questions the requests of counties to replace bridges that should instead be rehabilitated, more often than not, they rubber stamp the request and the bridge gets demolished and replaced.
Original / Full Size Photos
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Full Motion Video
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