This is an extremely small bascule bridge. Although the total length is of fair size, the main movable span is quite short for a bascule bridge. Because of its short length, one might expect that such a bridge would be a single-leaf structure, but the Cheboygan bridge is in fact a double-leaf. This bridge also features one steel stringer approach span at each end of the bridge.
This bridge was renovated by MDOT in 2003. MDOT has shown an interest in preserving a few of its bridges, which is noteworthy, as many departments in other states do not make such moves at all. MDOT has a special process they did on this bridge as well as the Belding Bridge to retain the historic railings while also upgrading the railings to meet currently acceptable standards. They used special posts that are similar looking to the original steel posts, but include special mounts for modern steel box railings on the traffic side of the railings. Behind those, they attach the original railing panels. The result is that the original appearance, especially from a riverside view, is still fairly similar. This represents a rare compromise in which both safety and history can coexist, and serves as an example for future preservation projects.
Above: Historical photo of previous bridge.
Above: Historical postcard of current bridge.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory
The Cheboygan Bascule Bridge, located in the county seat of Cheboygan,
carries US-23 over the Cheboygan River. The structure is comprised of
three steel deck girder spans: the center movable span, flanked by two
uniform-depth fixed girders. The structure extends 155 feet - the three
spans are 42 feet, 70 feet, and 42 feet respectively - with a
40-foot-wide roadway. When raised, the bridge provides a 60-foot-wide
river channel for passing water craft.
Statement of Significance
The Cheboygan Bascule Bridge was the last bascule bridge built in
Michigan before World War II. The Cheboygan Bridge linked the entire
length of Lake Huron from Port Huron to Mackinaw City and served as a
connecting link between shoreline US-23 and mid-state north-south route
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