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Trenary Bridge

Trenary Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 1, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
M-67 Over Scotts Creek
Trenary: Alger County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1914 By Builder/Contractor: Straits Construction Company

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Structure Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
38 Feet (11.58 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

To the casual observer, this bridge has every appearance of being something unusual: a 1950s concrete arch bridge built by the Michigan State Highway Department (MSHD). It has the railings, abutment detailing, and plaques of a 1950s MSHD bridge. However, concrete arch bridges were not common in the 1950s, especially for spans as small as this. The reality is that this is actually a concrete arch bridge built in 1914. In 1952-1953, the 1914 bridge was widened. Widening the bridge required substantial reconstruction of the abutments, and as a result the outer walls of the abutments ended up with 1950s style stepped abutment wing walls Widening the bridge also required removal of original railings. As a result, new railings, typical 1950s MSHD Type R4 ornamental railings were added to the bridge. Finally, the MSHD added standard bronze bridge plaques to the bridge. However, they used the same text on the plaques as they would for a new bridge, so the plaques make it look like the bridge was first built in 1952, which is incorrect. The National Bridge Inventory reports the accurate 1914 construction date. Physical evidence of this bridge's 1914 parts is visible when looking under the bridge. Under the bridge, the change in the pattern left behind by the wooden planks from the forms used to pour the concrete indicates where the old and new portions of the bridge are located. The old portion is right in the center.

As such, this bridge is interesting because of its story. Also, since MSHD was still using applying noteworthy aesthetics to its bridges in the 1950s, the bridge's arch combined with the 1950s aesthetics still results in an attractive bridge that is far more interesting than any modern bridge could ever hope to be.

Note that the contractor HistoricBridges.org has listed for this bridge did the 1952 rehabilitation work. It is not known who built the 1914 portion of the bridge.


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