|Wilbur Road Bridge||Truss||Wilbur Road||Washtenaw County, MI||Rural (River Raisin)||River Raisin|
This bridge is the last of its kind in Michigan, and although it may not be war surplus, it does utilize a design of bridge created as a part of WWII. Nevertheless, Washtenaw County Road Commission, in its blind stupidity, is going to replace this bridge despite a range of alternatives. Like Pennsylvania, the only effort to preserve this bridge will be to offer the financial burden to the public. Anyone who can afford it can move this bridge and preserve it. This is absurd! Perhaps if we were not paying taxes, this would be fair. Isn't the point of paying taxes supposed to be so that the government can provide for us. As a historic bridge, I feel the road commission should be obligated to preserve this bridge. If you read the PDF above, you will find a "Finding of No Significant Impact" cited. In my opinion, this finding is a twisted lie that they were able to get instated to help push their unjust replacement plan forward. As a one-of-a-kind structure in Michigan, cultural loss will not only be significant, it will be staggering. Let us not forget that the Bailey truss was developed by the British to help the Allied forces defeat the Nazi's. We may owe our very freedom we love so much to the Bailey truss, and we should not return the favor by wiping the memory of this technology off the face of the earth.
Despite its late 1953 construction date, this is one of the rarest and most historically important bridges in Michigan. It is even rarer than Michigan's overrated covered bridges: it is the only Bailey truss in Michigan, and is an excellent example of the structure type. The Bailey truss was developed in 1941 during World War II by the British military as a bridge kit that could be erected with amazing speed and could be easily adjusted to accommodate different span lengths and vehicle loads. I would hold off before pulling your tank out of the garage and trying to cross this bridge, however, since this bridge is posted for a three ton weight limit! You can drive your car across however, which was a nice surprise for me when I visited this bridge.
This is a bridge that should appeal to people interested in war history as much as transportation. Although it is unclear whether this bridge was purchased as military surplus or not, it is a good example of the technology that was used by the military to quickly create a bridge. The technology was adaptive; a bridge could vary in size in a number of ways, depending on what the need was. All of this is very clear with the Wilbur Road Bridge. You can see the unused holes and slots on the bridge, and you can see how they fit together like a puzzle. Each truss on the side of the bridge is two trusses wide and one truss high. MDOT's technical description of this is "double-truss, single-story." Bailey trusses could vary greatly, this bridge could have been two trusses high for instance, or have three trusses in width instead of two. The Wilbur Road Bridge sits on concrete abutments and has a wooden deck. The bridge is one lane wide. I think it is interesting that this bridge, which utilizes a design made for and used in WWII, crosses the River Raisin, a river that was the site of one of the major battles of the War of 1812.
Although this bridge is a truss bridge by definition, it does not fit well into the realm of most truss bridges. Its late development and use in terms of date, as well as the appearance of the steel, and the overall shape of the bridge are very different from what a truss bridge usually is. Nevertheless, I still find this to be an extremely fascinating bridge with a lot of aesthetic value as well. Its preservation should go without thinking.
To try to counter the loss of this bridge, I am providing an extensive photo gallery of photos of this bridge. Many full/wallpaper sized images are available for this bridge.