The west end of this bridge has one deck plate girder and three through truss approach spans. Going eastward, each truss approach span is a little larger than the next. The first two approach trusses are four panels, although the second one is a bit longer. The third, westernmost, of the approach spans has five panels. There are no approaches to the main bascule span at the eastern end. All the approach truss spans are riveted connection Pratt truss spans. This bridge was built in 1944 by the American Bridge Company and is a good example of the transition from v-laced and latticed built-up beams to a more plain built-up box beam that feature only punched holes. The approach spans do have v-lacing and lattice on the members and bracing however, while the bascule span has the punched hole box beams. The bascule span still has the v-lacing on the bracing however. The bascule span is an eight panel riveted connection through truss. The mechanics of the bascule span are very much like the Port Huron Railroad Bridge. The Port Huron Bridge is, like this Saginaw Bridge, inoperative. Unlike the Saginaw Railroad Bridge, the Port Huron example is always in the raised position. By comparing the two bridges you can see how the unusual counterweight swings between two positions as the bridge raises or lowers. The Port Huron bridge is an earlier example, with a 1931 construction date.
An advertisement for the American Bridge Company featured an Abt type bascule bridge built in Beaumont, Texas, similar in design to the Saginaw Bascule Bridge. However, the bridge in Beaumont Texas has been demolished. The Saginaw Bascule bridge is one of the few remaining examples of this bridge type in the country.
Above: View of the bridge from the river on August 15, 2020. Photo Credit: Don Glover
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