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US-45 East Branch Ontonagon River Bridge

US-45 East Branch Ontonagon River Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 1, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
US-45 Over East Branch Ontonagon River
Location
Rural: Ontonagon County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Metal Continuous Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1958 By Builder/Contractor: Jackson Construction Company and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
144 Feet (43.89 Meters)
Structure Length
384 Feet (117.04 Meters)
Roadway Width
35 Feet (10.67 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
8500

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is an example of a riveted, haunched deck plate girder, a bridge type that the Michigan State Highway Department used for high level crossings that had to cross over not only a river but some of the river valley as well. Some of these girder bridges display a cantilevered design with a suspended span. These things are absent at this bridge, and instead the girder is continuous with no suspended span.

A roadside park is present next to this bridge. Of interest to historic bridge enthusiasts is the remains of the former bridge that preceeded the existing girder bridge. It appears the abutment for this previous bridge was left in place to function as an outlook for the park. The previous bridge appears to have been a 1920s metal truss bridge of some sort. The fact that it was a truss bridge is evident from the fact that one of the floorbeams was salvaged from the bridge and placed at the end of the abutment to act as a barrier after the bridge was demolished. That the bridge was from the 1920s is determined because the abutments have railings on them that are a simple balustrade that the Michigan State Highway Department used during the 1920s. Proof of these suspicions was later confirmed by Brian R. Juntikka who kindly provided the below historical photos showing the truss bridge and its demolition and replacement. The truss bridge was built in 1922 and its design resembles pony truss bridges that were also built by the MSHD during this period, including the latticed end posts. The bridge was built by the Brookville Bridge Company of Brookville, Ohio.

Above: Historical 1928 photo showing the truss bridge. Photo courtesy Brian R. Juntikka.

Elevation view of the truss bridge. Photo courtesy Brian R. Juntikka.

Above: Aerial view showing both bridges. Photo courtesy Brian R. Juntikka.

Above: Looking at the new bridge while the truss bridge was still standing. Photo courtesy Brian R. Juntikka.

Above: Demolition of the truss, from the Bacco Construction Company archives in Iron Mountain, Michigan.

Above: Demolition of the truss, from the Bacco Construction Company archives in Iron Mountain, Michigan.

 

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