|Bridge Name||Facility Carried / Feature Intersected||Location||Structure Type||Construction Date and Builder/Engineer|
Old US-41 Backwater Creek Bridge
||Private Drive (Old US-41 Alignment) Over Backwater Creek||Rural: Baraga County, Michigan||Metal 5 Panel Rivet-Connected Warren Pony Truss, Fixed||1918 By Builder/Contractor: Northwestern Bridge and Iron Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Engineer/Design: Michigan State Highway Department|
|Main Span Length||Structure Length||Roadway Width||Main Spans|
|80 Feet (24.4 Meters)||81 Feet (24.7 Meters)||18 Feet (5.5 Meters)||1|
This bridge is historically significant as an early surviving state standard pony truss bridge. The bridge retains excellent historic integrity and is essentially unaltered. The bridge is located on an alignment of US-41 that was officially abandoned by the highway department and is today a private driveway. Additional description and history is available from Michigan Historic Sites Online below.
Information and Findings From Michigan Historic Sites Online
Northwestern Bridge and Iron Company
main span number:1
Included among the six Baraga County spans in the Survey Sample is this long-span pony truss in Baraga Township. The Backwater Creek Bridge carries an abandoned segment of US-41 (now a privately owned road) immediately above the creek's mouth at L'Anse Bay. Fabricated from a standard plan by the Michigan State Highway Department, the bridge is an 80-foot, rigid-connected Warren truss with an 18-foot roadway width. The web members are comprised as follows: upper chord and inclined end post - two channels with cover and batten plates. I-beam floor beams are field-bolted to the verticals and support steel stingers, which in turn carry a concrete deck. These floor beams are braced laterally by steel angles. The guardrails are latticed. The truss is supported on its four corners by built-up steel bearing shoes, which rest on concrete full-height abutments with angled wingwalls. Apparently unaltered, the Backwater Creek Bridge is in good structural condition.
Statement of Significance
Soon after the legislature passed the State Trunk Line Act in 1913, authorizing the formation of a trunk line system of roads, a mainline route across Baraga County was designated. The route extended from Michigamme, at the county's east line, northwest to Chassell, at the Houghton County Line. By 1915, the road had been completed along its entire length through the county, including the segment through a bayou at the southern edge of L'Anse Bay. Using trunk line rewards from the state, the Baraga County Road Commission improved the route incrementally through the late 1910s, regrading and rebuilding segments and constructing new bridges.
One of these improvements involved construction of abridge across the L'Anse Bay backwater, about two miles south of the town of Baraga. For the crossing, engineers for the state highway department delineated this long-span pony truss, supported by concrete abutments. Designating the structure State Trunk Line Bridge No. 86, MSHD in 1917 awarded a contract to build the concrete substructure to the Smith-Sparks Construction Company for $5,414.20. Using steel members rolled by the Illinois Steel Company, the Northwestern Bridge and Iron Company fabricated the truss, completing its erection in 1918 for $4, 536.00. In the 1920s, the trunk line road and this bridge were incorporated into US-41. The bridge carried increasingly heavy traffic until its replacement by another structure immediately downstream. It remains in place today, in essentially unaltered condition.
US-41 has historically formed one of two backbones for overland traffic in the Upper Peninsula, providing both tourist access and local travel in the region. The Backwater Creek Bridge is an unaltered part of this route, built as the road was first developing as a state trunk line in the 1910s. For this reason, the bridge is historically significant as a formative part of regional transportation. The Backwater Creek Bridge is technologically noteworthy as one of the oldest intact examples of MSHD standard pony truss design. Although the highway department first delineated its Warren truss standard as early as the 1907-1908 biennium and had erected 19 such trusses at trunk line crossings by mid-1918, attrition has since taken most of these earliest spans. The Backwater Creek Bridge is technologically significant as a well-preserved and well-documented example of this important highway department structural type.
Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.
Original / Full Size Photos
|A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.|
Mobile Optimized Gallery
|A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem
(dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer
download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
© Copyright 2003-2014, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.