This bridge is a good example of a compromise preservation solution. This historic bridge was the recipient of a project that could be described as an extremely heavy/invasive rehabilitation, or a partial replacement project. The only original bridge materials present are the arch ring, pier, and abutment. Everything else has been replaced. However, the replaced elements appear to have been replicated quire closely. Architectural detailing of the rebuilt portions of the superstructure, as well as the design of the concrete balustrade railings, as well as decorative lighting on the bridge appear to replicate the original design. It is worth noting that based on MDOT's photo of the bridge below, that the original railings had already been lost prior to this project, so the placement of replica railings on the bridge as part of the project was a clear step forward. Modern "two-tube" type guiderails were placed in front to provide a guiderail that meets requirements for vehicular traffic safety. These low visual impact guiderails are used by MDOT in a number of historic bridge preservation projects because they can be combined with original railings and do not detract visually from the historic bridge.
The goal in historic preservation is to maintain original materials whenever possible. Unfortunately, neglect of historic bridges in the past has been a serious problem with concrete bridges. As such, this bridge's preservation was not optimal from that perspective. However, concrete is much harder than metal to repair when it deteriorates severely. As such, the bridge is a good example of a compromise, which allowed the bridge to be brought back to a good structural condition capable of handling current loading requirements, while also retaining the original design and overall visual appearance of the bridge. As agencies plan for the preservation of concrete bridges, this bridge should serve as an example to follow only when other preservation alternatives that retain more original material have been found to be not feasible.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
This two-span bridge was designed by the Michigan State Highway Department and constructed by the contracting firm of Smith-Holmes-Burridge-Sparks. It features attractive decorative lamp posts and railings.
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