This bridge is a later example of a concrete rigid-frame bridge in Michigan. It is also an early example of a bridge with concrete and pole combination guardrails. Michigan State Highway Department/MDOT would itself adopt a combination concrete/pole guardrail design, but it would be different than the design seen here. The bridge is mainly only considered historic because it falls within the period of significance for the Belle Isle Historic District and as such is a contributing structure to the district.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
This concrete rigid-frame bridge, which is oriented on a north-south axis, currently carries one-way traffic. It is located on Belle Isle, just south of the bridge connecting the island with the mainland. The Casino Way Bridge has a simple railing, consisting of a solid concrete base topped with a single metal rail, edging the sidewalks along both sides of the roadway. The rail terminates in the streamlined curve. The end is missing on the southeast end; the northwest end is flattened. In general, though, the bridge displays very good design integrity.
A metal-arch structure with a lattice railing originally served this crossing. The bridge was widened in 1927, and replaced altogether in 1946, according to plans at the Detroit City Engineering Department. The 1946 project also included some modifications to the road's route, resulting in the new bridges location slightly to the east of the earlier structure. Plans for the new bridge, which were prepared by the City Engineering Office, are dated May 1946. On 20 August 1946, the city of Detroit closed bidding for the construction of three bridges on Belle Isle, including the Casino Way Bridge. This bridge has just reached the fifty-year line typically drawn for National Register eligibility. It is within the Belle Isle National Register district, and should be considered a contributing structure in that district.
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