|Raymond Road Bridge||Truss||Raymond Road||Lenawee County, MI||Rural||Fitts Creek|
This bridge is just a half mile north of the Cole Road Bridge. Michigan Historic Bridge Inventory gave the default date of 1900 for this Raymond Road bridge, which means they don't know when it was built. Comparing this bridge to the 1897 Cole Road Bridge, I would say that this bridge is quite a bit older than even that. My rough guess is between 1885 and 1895. Compare the lightweight vertical and diagonal members of this bridge to the larger ones present on Cole Road, and you will see why. No matter what the construction date, Raymond Road is a bridge designed to hold less weight. Even the lattice railings were smaller on this bridge. In terms of length, this bridge is similar Cole Road albeit a few feet shorter, it is composed of three panels totaling 33 feet in length.
Despite the apparent older age of this bridge, it is in much better condition. It sits on stone abutments, but they haven't started to fall apart yet. The steel is in excellent condition also. Although there is no paint on the bridge and as such there is rust on it, there is no deterioration from the rust. The top chord, for example, exhibits none of that ribbed appearance that is seen so often on truss bridges. The connections of vertical to bottom chord were in relatively good shape also.
A well worn sign still managed to convey to me the weight limit of this bridge before it was closed to traffic, which was three tons. In Michigan today, a bridge that has to drop its weight limit below three tons must be closed. That law probably was the same back then. I was lucky enough to catch this bridges only remaining form of motorized traffic, four-wheelers crossing this bridge. At least the bridge still can still serve its purpose for someone. I think it would be great to see this bridge restored since it is in decent condition, and is obviously of use to off-road vehicles, as well as people like me.