The bridge you're looking at once carried 108th Street across the Thornapple River southeast of Grand Rapids. The bridge dates back to the early 1930s and perhaps surprisingly, was once a state highway.

The Michigan Department of Transportation routed what was then M-39 from Fulton Street in downtown Grand Rapids to Lansing taking a more southerly route than Grand River Avenue - which was then M-16, eventually US 16 and today supplanted by Interstate 96.

Thought the bridge shown above captured on Google Street View before its destruction appears deteriorated and rusty, it was once envisioned to be part of a major highway across the state.

According to HistoricBridges.org the bridge across the Thronapple at 108th Street was envisioned to be a major 4-lane highway between Grand Rapids and the capital city. However, the always informative and in-depth MichiganHighways website notes that M-39 was seen as a redundant route as was largely scaled back in size during the 1930s and eliminated altogether with the number being reused and lives on as today's Southfield Highway in the Detroit area.

The bridge that the state built along 108th Street was turned over to the Kent County Road Commission (it's worth nothing that if the roadway is fully under the jurisdiction of Kent County, 108th Street is the southern border of the county so marks the border at this location with Barry County).

The bridge lasted under the county's oversight until 2015. It was then overhauled. A loss for historic bridge aficionados who note the original 108th Street Bridge was likely the last of its kind in Michigan, a so-called 'metal stringer bridge' that had distinctive railings. After the bridge was rebuilt in the mid-2010s, it has a gleaming concrete travel surface but has lost the distinctive railings.

108th street bridge reconstruction
Google Maps Street View
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Though this bridge in southern Kent County is gone, there are many old and historic bridges across the state.

Six 19th Century Bridges in Michigan Still in Use

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