This bridge is technically a relic from US-112, although for the sake of clarity, it is usually considered the Old US-12 Bridge. US-12 was during the time this bridge was built, right through 1933 when the Michigan State Highway Department realigned the highway south of the truss bridge, actually US-112. At that time, US-12 followed the current route of I-94. Remnants of this highway, which passed through cities like Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Albion, Jackson, and Paw Paw, are commonly named Michigan Avenue today. Only in 1962 when I-94 was completed did US-112 become US-12 and the Michigan Avenue US-12 was decommissioned. Find out more about the highways at this excellent website.
This bridge is unusual because it is a Michigan State Highway Department standard plan structure and bears much similarity to Michigan's standard Parker pony truss plan as seen in bridges like M-86. This is a relatively short bridge, and as such a Parker truss was most likely unnecessary here.
In a county where ancient pin-connected truss bridges like the Gower Road Bridge, plus Stancer Road Bridge, remain open to traffic, finding this 1920s truss bridge with riveted connections closed to traffic might come as a shock. The shock might be amplified by the fact that the M-86 Bridge, one of those similar Parker truss bridges, is open to trunk line traffic with no weight limit at all. The Old US-12 Bridge has severe rust deterioration on the bottom chord, floor beams, and deck stringers. It is likely due to salt damage. The older pin-connected bridges are both on dirt roads, where salt is not applied in the winter, accounting for why a newer and originally stronger bridge is today in worse condition. This bridge underscores the need to explore and utilize alternative forms of de-icing that do not deteriorate bridges, and for that matter cars as well.
Up until 1997, the 1933 bridge that was built just a little bit south of this bridge to carry the realigned US-112 was still standing, displaying two generations of bridge design. Unfortunately, that bridge was demolished in 1997.
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