US 31–Pentwater River Bridge

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US 31–Pentwater River Bridge
Coordinates 43°42′27″N 86°21′21″W / 43.7075°N 86.3559°W / 43.7075; -86.3559Coordinates: 43°42′27″N 86°21′21″W / 43.7075°N 86.3559°W / 43.7075; -86.3559
Carries Oceana Drive
Total length 270 feet (82 m)
Width 63.1 feet (19.2 m)
Longest span 102 feet (31 m)
No. of spans 3
Construction cost $266,564
US 31–Pentwater River Bridge
US 31–Pentwater River Bridge is located in Michigan
US 31–Pentwater River Bridge
US 31–Pentwater River Bridge is located in the US
US 31–Pentwater River Bridge
NRHP Reference # 99001534[1]
Added to NRHP December 20, 1999[2]

The US 31–Pentwater River Bridge is a three-span steel bridge that carries Oceana Drive (Old US Highway 31) over the Pentwater River in northern Hart, Michigan. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Prior to the construction of the current span, US 31 spanned the river in Hart on a bridge that had become a significant bottleneck by the early 1950s. In 1954, a replacement structure was designed by the Michigan State Highway Department. The bridge was designated as a Federal Aid project and the contract for construction was awarded to Gene Fewell. The bridge was completed the next year for $266,564.[2]

Since construction, the bridge has been altered little and has undergone repairs only for maintenance reasons.[2] In 1988, the bridge was rehabilitated by replacing the pins and hangers of the non-redundant suspended spans.[3] The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 20, 1999,[4] and the Michigan Department of Transportation placed it on their list of historic bridges.[5]


The bridge has three spans and a total length of 270 feet (82 m). The two anchor spans are 84 feet (26 m) long and cantilever over the piers to support the 102-foot (31 m) center span, 60 feet (18 m) of which is suspended. The deck is 56 feet (17 m) wide and the total width of the bridge is 63.1 feet (19.2 m).[2] The bridge is essentially two separate bridges, each with its own structure, separated by a 4-foot-wide (1.2 m) divider strip and connected by a 1 inch (2.5 cm) joint along the bridge's length.[2][3] The bridge has two lanes in each direction and the sidewalks are 2.5 feet (0.76 m) wide.[3]

The steel girder design of the US 31–Pentwater River Bridge was widely used by State Highway Department in the 1930s and 1940s. The department used similar designs as early as 1905, but it was not until about 1930 that steel manufacturing techniques could produce a span greater than 45 feet (14 m).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (March 13, 2009). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Staff. "US-31 (Old)/Pentwater River Bridge". State Historic Preservation Office. Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Old U.S. 31 Over Pentwater River: B01 of 64012" (PDF). Non-Redundant Fracture-Critical Bridge Inspection Manual. Michigan Department of Transportation. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 2, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 12/20/99 Through 12/23/99". National Register of Historic Places. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ "US-31 / Pentwater River". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 6, 2012.