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Chicago Drive Bridge

BL-196 Bridge

Chicago Drive Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Chicago Drive (BL-196) Over Plaster Creek
Wyoming: Kent County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1916 By Builder/Contractor: Hillding and Rabe and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
60 Feet (18.3 Meters)
Structure Length
60 Feet (18.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
42 Feet (12.8 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

Perhaps one of the reasons this very old 1916 arch bridge still carries four lanes of traffic is because it once carried an inter-urban railway on it as well. This only lasted for three years, and then the rails were removed. However, the additional width that the bridge was originally designed with allowed the road to have four lanes of decent size, allowing it to carry the traffic it does today.

This bridge is in good condition, no weight limit is posted, and the 2006 National Bridge Inventory provides a sufficiency rating of 72%, which is very high for a historic bridge, especially one on a fairly well-traveled road.

 The bridge is somewhat hard to get photos of, due to fences, trees, buildings, and other such obstacles.

An interesting note is that the trunk line bridge that was built just before this one, Watervliet Road Bridge Trunk Line Bridge #57 (the Chicago Avenue Bridge is #58) was documented by HistoricBridges.org. Although demolished now, it was an unusual occurrence to find both bridges that were built one right after the other still standing. . I thought it was interesting that two consecutive trunk line bridges were still standing for me to photograph.

This bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory

Narrative Description

M-21 / Plaster Creek

The Wyoming Bridge is a medium-span arch bridge in the city of Wyoming. It carries M-21 BR over Plaster Creek in an industrialized area adjacent to Roosevelt Park. The bridge is a 60-foot, filled spandrel arch, with earth fill and an asphalt-surfaced roadway that is flanked on both sides by concrete sidewalks. The elliptically shaped arch springs from massive concrete abutments. It features a tapered arch ring, which is cast integrally with the plain-faced concrete spandrel walls. The guardrails are solid concrete, with recessed rectangular panels; bronze "Trunk Line Bridge" plates are mounted one their inside walls. Although the neighborhood around the Wyoming Bridge has changed substantially since the bridge's construction in 1916, the bridge itself remains unaltered and in good physical condition.

In 1916 the Michigan State Highway Department designed Trunk line Bridge No. 58 over Plaster Creek in the city of Wyoming. Located on the trunk line route that extended south of Grand Rapids, the Kent County seat, the structure featured a 60-foot, filled spandrel concrete arch. The agency hired Grand Rapids contractors Hilding and Rabe to build the bridge. Finished later that year, the structure's $13,146.55. Cost was borne almost equally by the state highway department, the Kent County Road Commission and the Grand Rapids Railway Company. For three years the railway company ran its inter-urban cars over the bridge, but in 1919 discontinued the line and removed its tracks. The Wyoming Bridge has since carried vehicular traffic in essentially unaltered condition.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Chicago Drive Bridge

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