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Cheboygan Bridge

Cheboygan Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 1, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
US-23 (State Street) Over Cheboygan River
Location
Cheboygan: Cheboygan County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Rolling Lift) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1940 By Builder/Contractor: W. J. Storen Company and Engineer/Design: Hazelet and Erdal of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2003
Main Span Length
70 Feet (21 Meters)
Structure Length
155 Feet (47 Meters)
Roadway Width
40 Feet (12.19 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16116081000B030

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

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

Narrative Description

MDOT Historic Bridge US-23 / Cheboygan River

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.

Built in 1940, the Cheboygan Bascule Bridge is at least the second movable-span structure at this site. The current structure replaced a 70-year-old, iron swing-span bridge here, reportedly made hazardous by long use and heavy traffic. According to MSHD Commissioner G. Donald Kennedy, the old bridge vibrated noisily under traffic, and its unloaded end caused the "rusty old structure [to] bounce up and down on its seat."

The new heavier, wider bridge must have come as a relief to the citizens of Cheboygan. The new bridge was engineered in early 1940. Construction of the bridge and its approach grading was set to begin in May 1940 and to finish by late fall. It was completed by December 1940, slightly behind schedule but just before wartime restrictions on critical materials went into effect.

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 US-27.

Kennedy predicted that the span would help progress in the northern section of the state and "add greatly to the popularity of this scenic highway among the thousands of tourists who annually visit norther Michigan." The new bridge was also notable for its safety, incorporating multiple safety devices such as safety barriers, traffic gates and traffic lights.

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Cheboygan Bridge

 
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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Maps and Links: Cheboygan Bridge

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