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M-21 Grand River Bridge

M-21 Grand River Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: Fall/Winter 2006 and September 3, 2009

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
M-21 (Fulton Street) Over Grand River
Ada: Kent County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1957 By Builder/Contractor: Brown Brothers of Lansing, Michigan and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
70.0 Feet (21.3 Meters)
Structure Length
480.0 Feet (146.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
58 Feet (17.68 Meters)
7 Main Span(s)
Inventory 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 bridge was demolished and replaced!

This bridge is a large steel stringer that operates with a pin and hanger system.

This bridge is noteworthy for its length. At 480 feet, it is among Michigan's longest bridges with surviving type R4 railing. The bridge is also wide, as a four-lane structure with sidewalks. The structure is also considerably skewed. The structure retains fair historic integrity. The addition of modern Armco railings to the historic railings diminished the structure's beauty and historic value.

One interesting fact is that the nearby Thornapple River was rerouted during the construction of this bridge.

The demolition and replacement of this bridge was proposed in October 2009 after township officials and residents deemed the bridge an essential "gateway" to Ada Village. They met for a weeklong brainstorming session that addressed ways to redesign Ada. The new M-21 bridge design was suggested, to enhance its role as an entry into the village.

Ada's plans for this crossing represent a waste of money and a poor path to improving the community. For instance, they mention that the new bridge will have an "open railing system." The reality is, if the Armco railings were removed from the existing bridge, not only would the railing system be an "open system" it would be an attractive one as well. Surely a bridge even with a small amount of historical value would add more character to Ada than any modern bridge could. In addition, the bridge is in poor condition, but it could be rehabilitated, likely for less raw dollars than replacement. If Ada wants to improve the appearance of the crossing, they could lobby MDOT to restore the bridge, and remove those ugly modern railings. MDOT has the ability to retrofit the R4 railing with "two-tube" guardrail so that crash protection is provided, but the visual obstructive of the original railings is much less. They could perhaps integrate other architectural elements to the bridge as well, such as flag poles, attractive lighting, etc. The result would not only be a more attractive bridge, but one with some level of historic value to it as well.


Photo Galleries and Videos: M-21 Grand River Bridge


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Maps and Links: M-21 Grand River Bridge

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

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Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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