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 and Unorganized Photos
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