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Michigan Avenue Bridge

Michigan Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 15, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Michigan Avenue (M-17, US-12 Business) Over Huron River
Ypsilanti: Washtenaw County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1912 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
105 Feet (32 Meters)
Structure Length
105 Feet (32 Meters)
Roadway Width
66 Feet (20.12 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

Constructed in 1912, this bridge is an extremely old surviving concrete arch bridge in Michigan. Based on the concrete appearance, it appears to be its original width, however it is very wide for 1912, with a 66 foot roadway width and 78.4 foot out-to-out deck width. The bridge has lost its original railings. However there are two concrete railing panels, one old one newer, which appear to be remnants of the original railing design at the northwest corner of the bridge. If so, these could serve as a template to replicate the original railings and replace the ugly modern railings currently on the bridge. Because of the design of these apparent original railings, they undoubtedly could be designed to meet current AASHTO standards while still displaying the original details.

The bridge is currently not considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places on the Historic Bridge Inventory. However the decision of  MDOT to demolish a couple larger historic concrete arch bridges in Michigan means that a reevaluation of this bridge should be considered.

The bridge is currently in good condition with surprisingly little spalling or cracking noted especially for a bridge of its age. Sometimes the really old concrete arch bridges from 1905-1915 seem to have a stronger concrete that does not have the problems that some of  the 1920s and 1930s concrete bridges have. The only problem noted is the bridge's risk for scour problems as noted in the National Bridge Inventory. The bridge seems a little too short for the river it crosses, such that the water wraps around the abutments of the bridge with  the spring line from the arch well into the river channel. This condition would tend to be stressful to the abutment.

The previous bridge at this location was a cast iron through truss bridge dated to ca. 1869. A photo is shown below.


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