This bridge is like a movable monumental bridge, and it is one of the largest bascule bridges ever built. Even when closed, the bridge still offers considerable clearance for boats. The mighty bascule leaves open up to a 45 degree angle. This is not as far as other bascule bridges can open (some can open to near 90 degrees), but given the bridge's high clearance in the closed position, this opening angle was apparently sufficient.
This bridge also is unusual because it is a movable braced ribbed through arch bridge. Most movable bridges feature a truss bridge superstructure or a plate girder superstructure. The bridge also enjoys an incredible amount of local significance as it is the only highway bascule bridge in the entire state, in addition to its high level of national significance for its size and unusual design. Finally, the bridge features impressive a number of large deck arch spans that provide an approach to the structure. This bridge underwent a restoration, and the photos for this bridge were taken while this work was underway. The bridge was closed to all traffic during these renovations.
The bridge's bascule span is a rolling lift bascule bridge designed by the patent holding Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company. It was designed with the assistance of noteworthy engineer J. E. Greiner, who had offices in Baltimore, Maryland and Chicago, Illinois. Vang Construction Company of Cumberland, Maryland built the concrete arch approach spans, with Toledo Bridge and Crane Company of Toledo, Ohio fabricated the bascule span, while Chicago-based Kelly-Atkinson Construction Company, which was noted for its involvement with many Chicago bascule bridges, erected the bascule span.
According to an August 1919 issue of Michigan Architect and Engineer, "The bridge is so designed that in the open position it acts as a double leaf cantilever. In the closed position the dead load is carried as a cantilever, and the live load is carried as a three hinged arm." In other words, when open, the bascule leafs act as cantilever trusses, but when closed, the bridge functions as a three hinged arch. The article also mentions the bridge has 1200 tons of structural steel and 90 tons of machinery and castings. It advertises an opening time of 1.5 minutes and a total contract price of $170,000.00
Video of the bridge being lowered after a boat passes through in 2015 is available on YouTube.
Above: Photo of bridge in raised position after rehabilitation. Photo courtesy TDOT.
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
Search For Additional Bridge Listings:
© Copyright 2003-2022, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.