Skip to main content

Michigan Bar Road Bridge

The Michigan Bar Road Bridge is a single lane deck truss structure located in eastern Sacramento County at the Cosumnes River.  Michigan Bar is the site of a mining community which was founded on the Cosumnes River in 1849 by miners originating from Michigan.  The original bridge at Michigan Bar was constructed in 1853 and made public in 1879.  The second structure at the site was constructed during 1887 and was destroyed by flooding in 1907.  During 1908 a truss span was constructed which was redecked to the current design in 1947.  

Part 1; the history of the Michigan Bar Road Bridge

The history of Michigan Bar can be found on a plaque located at the intersection of California State Route 16 and Michigan Bar Road.  Michigan Bar was founded by two miners from Michigan in 1849 at a gold claim on the Cosumnes River.  The community of located near the Nisenan village of Palamul.  

Michigan Bar would reach a peak population of approximately 1,500 during the 1850s.  The community would shift from was placer mining to hydraulic mining during the 1860s.  The hydraulic operations would end up consuming much of the original Michigan Bar town site by the early 1880s.  Following a lawsuit in 1884 hydraulic mining at the Michigan Bar Mining District would decline.  

During 1853 the first bridge over the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar was constructed.  The original structure a franchise toll facility which carried rights for twenty-five years.  The span was made free would Sacramento County assumed ownership of the bridge in 1879.  The original Michigan Bar Road Bridge can be seen on the 1882 Official Map of Sacramento County

During 1887 Sacramento County constructed a new bridge at Michigan Bar.  It isn't fully clear what type of design the 1887 structure was, but it may have had a covered span.  The 1887 Michigan Bar Road Bridge can be seen on the 1894 United States Geological Survey map of Lodi. 

The 1887 bridge was destroyed during a flood on the Cosumnes River in 1907.  The structure was replaced by a truss span which was completed in 1908.  The 1908 bridge can be seen in a series of slides hosted by the Center of Sacramento History.  

The 1908 Michigan Bar Road Bridge can be seen on the 1928 Map of Sacramento County.  

During 1947 the surface of the Michigan Bar Road Bridge was replaced with a desk truss.  The then new deck reused the pilings which were erected during 1908.  It isn't fully clear why the deck was replaced.  The Michigan Bar Road Bridge redecking designs were published by the Sacramento County Engineer Office during November 1957.  

The 1947 Michigan Bar Road Bridge was assessed in 2010 by Caltrans.  The span is noted to be 107.6 long and was in noted to have a sag in the truss.  The sagged truss led to the structure receiving a lower load capacity limit.  

Sacramento County conducted preliminary studies for a replacement to the 1947 Michigan Bar Road Bridge circa 2011-2012.  Environmental Study in project zone was conducted circa 2013-2018 along with a design phase during 2014-2018.  Right-of-way acquisition for a new bridge was conducted circa 2018-2019 and construction was supposed to start in 2020.  

It is unclear why the replacement project has stalled since 2020.  The replacement span is noted to be a twelve-foot-wide single lane which would permit pedestrian access.  The current structure is noted to carry less than 100 vehicles a day.  

Part 2; a drive on the Michigan Bar Road Bridge

Signage along California State Route 16 directs traffic where to pull onto Michigan Bar Road.

Michigan Bar Road descends north from California State Route 16 towards the Consumnes River.  Signage approaching the town site of Michigan Bar indicates the namesake bridge has a 5 MPH speed limit and weight capacity of 18 Tons-25 Tons depending on length.  

Michigan Bar Road approaches the Cosumnes River amid homes constructed in the 1870s.  From the south river bank the bridge pilings constructed in 1908 can be seen. 

Below is the view crossing the Michigan Bar Road Bridge northbound.  Michigan Bar Road continues three miles north of the Cosumnes River with a dirt surface to Latrobe Road.  

Below is the view crossing the Michigan Bar Road Bridge heading south.


Popular posts from this blog

The history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California

The historic corridor of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 through the borderlands of southern California share a largely mutual history.  Both highways originated in the city of San Diego and departed the state at the Colorado River into Yuma, Arizona.  Both highways share numerous famous geographical components such as the Mountain Springs Grade and Algodones Sand Dunes.  This article serves as a comprehensive history of the combined US Route 80/Interstate 8 corridor in California from the tolled stage route era of the nineteenth century to the development of the modern freeway.   The blog cover photo features US Route 80 along the Mountains Springs Grade through In-Ko-Pah Gorge during late 1920s.  This photo is part of the Caltrans McCurry Collection. Part 1; the history of US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California US Route 80 and Interstate 8 in California share a largely mutual history.  The backstory of both highways is tied heavily to the corridors of the Old Spanish Trail, Legisl

The Central Freeway of San Francisco (US Route 101)

The Central Freeway is a 1.2-mile elevated limited access corridor in the city of San Francisco.  As presently configured the Central Freeway connects from the end of the Bayshore Freeway to Market Street.  The Central Freeway carries the mainline of northbound US Route 101 from the Bayshore Freeway to Mission Street. The Central Freeway has origins with the establishment of Legislative Route Number 223 and is heavily tied to the history of the once proposed Panhandle Freeway.  The Central Freeway between the Bayshore Freeway and Mission Street was completed during 1955.  The corridor was extended to a one-way couplet located at Turk Street and Golden Gate Avenue in 1959 which served to connect US Route 101 to Van Ness Avenue.  The Central Freeway was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and has since been truncated to Market Street.   The Central Freeway as pictured on the blog cover was featured in the May/June 1959 California Highways & Public Works.  The scan below is fro

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact, the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine w