Beach Garland / Flint River

Beach Garland / Flint River

County: Genesee

City/Township: Flint

Location: Beach Garland / Flint River

Year Built: 1921

About this Bridge:
Located west of Interstate 475, this two-span concrete bridge spans the Flint River in central Flint. Known alternately as the Beach Garland Bridge or the Garland Beach Street Bridge, the structure joins Beach and Garland Streets in the central business district. The bridge has two, heavily skewed, 80-foot, filled spandrel arches by incised lines in the concrete.

“There comes a time in almost every growing and prosperous city when the discovery is made that, due to lack of foresight and planning, there are inadequate provisions to take care of existing traffic conditions or the growing traffic conditions which are bound to develop in the future. The city of Flint, which is close to if not the center of the automobile industry today, finds itself with this as one of its major problems to solve.” This statement, although made in 1935 by F.J. Cook and T.C. King, also reflected the city’s plight fifteen years earlier, when traffic over the Flint River in downtown Flint was constricted to two major crossings. To help ease the congestion, the Flint City Council in 1920 directed City Engineer Ezra Shoecraft to develop plans and specifications for a new bridge that would cross the Flint between Garland Street on the north and Beach Street on the south. Indianapolis engineer Daniel B. Luten delineated several configurations for the proposed two-span structure, using his patented filled spandrel arch standard.

Work on the bridge was well underway by October 1920 and was completed the following autumn. Michigan Contractor and Builder enthused: “It is beautiful, both from an engineering and architectural viewpoint.” Since its opening, the Beach Garland Street Bridge has carried inner-city traffic, with the removal of its original light standards as the only noteworthy alteration.