Although perhaps the most well-known and visible bridge in Sault Ste Marie, from a historical perspective, this is one of the younger historic bridges in the area, when compared to the International Railroad Bridge, and the Emergency Swing Span, and the Ashmun Street Bridge
This bridge is a complex structure. The minor spans are all deck plate girder spans. There is a deck truss span over the Power Canal on the Michigan side. The continuous truss unit over the U.S. canals is a four span through truss with two arch-shaped spans featuring suspended deck, giving it an arch-like shape. This style of continuous truss unit usually only has a single arch-shaped suspended deck span, making this part of the bridge extremely rare. The span over the Ontario canal is another continuous truss unit with suspended deck, but this unit is of traditional arrangement with only a single arch-shaped suspended deck truss span. The bridge is noted for its sag in between these two through truss units, which was done because under-bridge clearance was not a concern at that part and so to reduce costs, the piers were built with a lower height there. The International Bridge lacks any v-lacing or lattice, and all connections are bolted. There are rivets on the built-up beams however. The concrete piers are tall and impressive, but feature minimal aesthetics, especially when compared to a bridge like the Blue Water Bridge.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
This is one of Michigan's five monumental bridges. The twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan and Ontario were linked by a railroad bridge in 1887, but automobile traffic between the cities was carried by ferry until this bridge was opened in 1962. An International Bridge Authority was created by the Michigan State Legislature and passed before construction was begun.
It was designed by the firm of Steinman, Boyton, Gronquist, and London of New York and cost twenty million dollars. This bridge was an ambitious project because it crossed two navigation canals and the St. Mary's River.Overall, the bridge is 2.76 miles long, including approaches, and provides a two lane roadway 28 feet wide. The Main spans had to be erected without the use of falsework so as not to obstruct traffic through the American and Canadian Locks. This was done through the balanced addition of steel structural members on the main spans.
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