Indian Trail Rd. / Belle Drive

MDOT Historic Bridge St. Clair County Indian Trail Rd. / Belle Drive

County: St. Clair

City/Township: China Twp.

Location: Indian Trail Rd. / Belle Drive

Year Built: 1937

About this Bridge:
The Indian Trail Road Bridge is eligible for the National Register as a representative product of the PWA program. The polygonal-truss bridge is also eligible as an example of late pony-truss design. Pony-truss bridges were rarely built after the late 1930s.

At a meeting on 24 July 1935, the county road commission resolved to apply for a grant from the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (PWA) to build a bridge over the Belle River at this location, once known as Radike Mills. The process took more than a year, but on 19 September 1936, the board received word that the grant had been approved. The grant also included the construction of a bridge for King Road, about 2 miles east of Indian Trail Road.

Another PWA grant received at the same time was for a bridge over Mill Creek in Clyde Township. The county accepted the grants, and pledged to raise additional funding for the construction from associated assessment districts. The board anticipated that work on the bridges would begin before mid-November, and would be completed by November 1937. Bids for the Indian Trail Road Bridge were opened on 31 October 1936. Couse and Saunders of Detroit received the contract with the low bid of $33,200.78. The road commission accepted the completed structure on 22 July 1937.

Road and bridge improvements were important products of the massive federal relief programs during the 1930s. In addition to the three St. Clair County bridges funded by the PWA, the county had used another program, the Works Projects Administration (WPA), to build four other bridges, grade 148 miles of secondary roads, and construct 448 culverts by the end of 1936.