M-50 / Sandstone Creek
City/Township: Tomkins Center
Location: M-50 / Sandstone Creek
Year Built: 1927 About this Bridge:
Michigan State Highway 50 Bridge is eligible for the National Register as a well-preserved early example of a steel deck-girder bridge. It carries a route that has been important since at least the early twentieth century. A 1911 atlas shows Clinton Road following the present path of M-50 through the area. Within six years, the road had been incorporated into the state trunk highway system; a short length through the town of Tompkins was designated a reward route. A 62-foot pin-connected Pratt pony truss with a 16-foot roadway initially carried the road over Sandstone Creek. The contract for the present bridge was awarded in March 1927. Bid specifications called for a reinforced concrete substructure with a single-span steel deck plate-girder superstructure. Plans were prepared by the state highway department. Walter Toebe and Company of Shingleton, Michigan, won the erection contract for $16,455.85. Bids for the structural steel from the Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company and the American Bridge Company were identical: $4,205.89. The State Administrative Board authorized State Highway Commissioner Frank Rogers to chose between the companies, and he selected the Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company of Milwaukee. Both the state highway department and the county road commission contributed funds to the project. Although steel deck girder structures had been used in the state since the 1900s, the highway department did not issue a concrete-encased design until the 1927-1928 biennium. Despite the addition of modern metal guardrails along the inner faces of the railings, the present bridge serves as a good early example of a state standard plan steel deck-girder bridge.