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Gugel Bridge

Beyer Road Bridge

Gugel Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 9, 2004 Through October 12, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Beyer Road Over Cass River
Location
Rural (Near Frankenmuth): Saginaw County, Michigan: United States
Structure Type
Metal 8 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal 4 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Full-Slope Pony Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1904 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2004
Main Span Length
142 Feet (43.28 Meters)
Structure Length
205 Feet (62.48 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
73311H00038B010

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is one of two historic metal truss bridges restored in and near Frankenmuth mainly through the efforts of William "Tiny" Zehnder Jr., who was also credited with turning Frankenmuth into the unique German-themed town that it is today, and one of Michigan's top tourist destinations. Mr. Zehnder also had a love for historic bridges, and his efforts also turned the Frankenmuth area into one of the most successful historic bridge stories in Michigan as well. The other bridge he restored is the Dehmel Road Bridge, which is proudly relocated near M-83 for all to see. Mr. Zehnder passed away on May 23, 2006, indeed not long after the two bridges were finally erected. His death is a sad event for the historic bridge community, but these beautiful restored bridges stand as monuments to his efforts as much as they are monuments to the companies that originally built them a century ago. Hopefully, these bridges continue to be maintained. They had some trouble when they painted the Bayer Road Bridge, and indeed the structure is already showing peeling paint and spotty rust in some spots. At some point down the road, this bridge will need to be sandblasted and repainted, perhaps with a more reliable paint system.

 HistoricBridges.org was told that when this bridge had its original wooden deck it created a very loud racket when driven across, and this experience was a "must" for visitors to the area. This bridge was originally built to serve the Dixie Highway west of Beyer Road a few miles. In 1919, the bridge was moved to its current location when its replacement was sought on the Dixie Highway. This relocation was encouraged by W. Christian Gugel, who was county treasurer at the time, and wanted the bridge here on Beyer road since his farmland was nearby. This might explain why this large bridge is present on a road that is not really a significant connecting route.

Having both an approach pony truss span and a main through truss span, the Beyer Road Bridge is very special, and is the only truss remaining in Michigan with such a combination of spans. Both spans of the Beyer Road Bridge are pin connected Pratt trusses. V-lacing is present on the vertical members of both spans. In addition, the through span has v-lacing on the sway bracing and under the top chord. The bridge was built in 1904, making the 2004 restoration a centennial event for the bridge. A portion of the top chord on one side of the pony span was cut out during restoration, since it was bent, and replaced with a new section of steel.


This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Reused

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Gugel Bridge

 
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Structure Overview
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
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Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
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Bridge Restoration
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of photos that show the bridge during the restoration project. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Restoration
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of photos that show the bridge during the restoration project. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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