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Delta Mills Bridge

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The steel span bridge with wood floor spanning the Grand River along Webster Road was built in either 1891 or 1892. The wooden floor was re-planked in 1898. Eventually a concrete floor was installed and the steel structure was finally torn down in July 1965 followed by the pouring of new concrete supports. Then, according to The State Journal (9/1/1966), “the project was delayed for a year when federal funds were held up pending passage of a Michigan expressway billboard law complying with federal regulations.”

Work resumed on the current structure in August 1966 and work was expected to be completed by November of 1966. The current structure is made up of concrete supports, topped with 58 25-ton concrete beams each spanning more than 70 feet. The beams were lifted into place with a crane operating on the river bed which was built up into a mud flat for the construction. 

During the construction, work was also completed to move “W. Willow Highway slightly to the south, eliminating the T-intersection at the south end of the bridge (TSJ, 9/1/66).” This work cleared space for the eventual construction of the canoe launch at Delta Mills Park.  

Earlier bridges had spanned the Grand River prior to construction of the Steel span bridge in the 1890’s. A motion was passed during the first Township meeting on April 4, 1842 to “raise $100 for roads and bridges, and that first the bridge debt be liquidated and the balance appropriated by the highway commissioners (1).” In October of 1857 the Township Board authorized “the township of Delta to raise by tax a sum not exceeding $1000 to build a bridge across Grand River in said township at or near the quarter line of section 3.” Then in January of 1859 Delta Township resident, Alonzo Baker, was authorized, “to build a dam across Grand River on the northwest quarter of section 5 in Delta (1).”

Bibliography:

  1. Durant, Samuel W. History of Ingham and Eaton Counties, Michigan with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Their Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: D.W. Ensign, 1880. Archive.org. Web. 31 May 2016. <https://archive.org/details/cu31924028870322&gt;. p. 454

Have more to add? Or pictures of the bridge? Share them in the comments or email Tom Moore (tmoore@dtdl.org).

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