This very attractive bridge managed to find its way into the Michigan State Register of Historic Places and a small interpretive plaque mentioning this is on the bridge. Many truss bridges, including ones that are demolished, are eligible for the National Register, but very few are actually put on the state register as well. Listing on the state register makes a bridge eligible to receive one of Michigan's recognizable interpretive plaques.
The bridge does have some alterations and other construction oddities. The steel grating deck is an unusual piece of work (loose and patched) and is a type of steel grating not normally used on bridges. There are i-beams with severe section loss on the steel stringer approaches for this bridge. The actual truss superstructure of the main span is in good condition though, so it would be feasible to execute a full restoration of the truss bridge.
This bridge was built by the Smith Bridge Company, as indicated by an intact plaque, in 1885. The bridge displays the portal bracing and other distinctive design appearances of the 1880s Smith Bridge Company bridges including the builder plaque design, portal bracing design, as well as the cast iron bridge shoe that accommodates a bearing and an uncommon threaded rod with nut connection for the bottom chord. The structure is a pin connected through truss. The vertical members are v-laced. The bridge originally sat on concrete filled steel caissons, but the western set has been replaced with a concrete pier. The original caissons for that end are still visible laying in the water. The eastern caissons are still in use, and appear to be in excellent condition. This bridge sits up in the air a fair amount compared to the typical Michigan truss bridge crossing. Abutments, which the approach spans sit on, are of an unusual riveted plate steel design that may not be original to the bridge. The truss bridge is 138 feet long, and the approach spans are 29 feet.
A visit to this bridge in early 2006 revealed that to the south on a new alignment a new bridge was being built. The road commission reported that they will not be tearing this historic truss bridge down, but will simply leave it abandoned. As such the bridge sets an excellent example to states like Pennsylvania which refuse to leave the old bridge standing next to the replacement. I will likely remain intact in this abandoned condition for decades, but on the other hand, it remains available and feasible to restore it so it can once again serve a functional use.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Available and Unorganized Photos
This bridge is located a short distance north of the current Burt Road Bridge.
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