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Mower Road Bridge

Mower Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: Fall/Winter 2006 and October 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Mower Road Over Cole Drain
Location
Rural: Saginaw County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1920 By Builder/Contractor: Denton and Johnson of Saginaw, Michigan and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Structure Length
135 Feet (41.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
18 Feet (5.49 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
73323H00028B010

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

Most of Michigan's concrete girder bridges are single span; this bridge is three spans. It appears to be the longest straight chord through girder open on public roads today. As such, its historic significance is great enough that this bridge should be preserved at all costs. Costs should not be too high, since the bridge is not in that bad of a condition at this time. With concrete bridges however, the time to preserve them is before they develop severe deterioration that can be hard to repair. The bridge is on a lightly traveled road, so its narrow roadway is not a major concern, and safety could be improved with slower speed limits or yield signs. However, Saginaw County is not noted for historic bridge preservation on its highways. Although there has been some deterioration where the girders are seated on the piers, the bridge appears to be in decent condition, with minimal spalling, meaning its historic integrity is excellent as well.

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

MDOT Historic Bridge Saginaw County Mower Road/Cole Drain

Among the seventeen bridges included from Saginaw County in Michigan's statewide historic bridge inventory is this three-span concrete structure northwest of Fosters. The structure carries Mower Road over the Cole Drain in rural Spaulding Township. The Mower Road Bridge is comprised of three concrete through girder spans, supported by concrete abutments and massive piers with bullnosed cutwaters.

Built from a standard design by the Michigan State Highway Department, the bridge features straight 45-foot girders, which form the guardrails on either side of the concrete slab deck. The small amount of architectural expression is limited to the rectangular recessed panels on the girders, the heavy corbeled girder caps and the bronze "State Reward Bridge" plates. The Mower Road Bridge has suffered minor spalling and chipping of its girders and differential settling of its piers, but the structure is unaltered and in good condition.

The Mower Road Bridge was designed by the Michigan State Highway Department and built as a State Reward bridge in 1920 by Saginaw contractors Denton and Johnson. Its concrete through girder configuration was based on a standard design that the Michigan State Highway Department had developed in the 1913-14 biennium. The highway department delineated straight girders in five-foot increments between 30 and 50 feet for use in a wide variety of applications in the 1910s and 1920s.

"The reinforced concrete through girder is the design generally employed for spans from thirty to fifty feet in both the eighteen and twenty-foot clear roadway form curb to curb," MSHD stated in its Seventh Biennial Report. "This design lends itself in the majority of cases on account of its very shallow floor system, thereby giving the waterway a maximum clearance under elevation of roadway crossing the bridge."

By 1930 the through girder had largely fallen out of favor with the state and county highway departments, but before it was discontinued, perhaps hundreds of theses utilitarian structures were built throughout the state.

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Mower Road Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Mower Road Bridge

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