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Turntable Bridge

Turntable Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Luke Gordon

Bridge Documented: Fall/Winter 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Abandoned) Over Black River
Rural: Sanilac County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1926 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

Thanks to David Cenci for providing some information on this bridge. This bridge, known locally as simply the Turntable Bridge, is tucked away on an abandoned railroad line, but is apparently well known by local rail fans. It is on an old C&O line known as the Sandusky Subdivision, a short line that branched off and went to Sandusky. It is an extremely unusual structure because its main span is actually a railroad turntable that was reused as a deck plate girder bridge!  reports that this turntable came from West Virginia. This certainly is quite a creative adaptive reuse of a turntable, although turntables in function are quite similar to a swing bridge, so perhaps this is not so surprising. Either way, anyone who has seen a turntable in its natural setting will immediately recognize this bridge's main span as such. From an aesthetic perspective, the curve of the girders and the unusual design both make this an attractive bridge and an interesting local attraction.

An elaborate plaque lists a bunch of patents, most likely for the movements of the turntable which are gone. The date listed is 1926; this would be when the turntable was manufactured, not when the turntable was readapted and erected over the Black River. The turntable was placed over the Black River sometime during the 1950s. The line was abandoned in 1990 or 1991. Since then, the giant garbage dump appears to have expanded, and their is a small mountain where the tracks used to go a bit west of this bridge.


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