CN Ford River Bridge

Through Girder Bridge over Ford River
Near Escanaba, Delta County, Michigan

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Name CN Ford River Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 220 Feet Total, 110 Foot Spans
Width 2 Tracks, 1 In Use
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1910
Traffic Count 3 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
C&NW Bridge Number 262
Significance Local Significance
In 1864, the Peninsula Railroad Company of Michigan built a 62 mile line from Escanaba, Michigan to Negaunee, Michigan.
The following year, this railroad would become part of the Chicago & North Western Railway, which was beginning to build extensive lines in the Upper Midwest.
In 1870, the railroad would extend another 5 miles to Lake Angeline. The system of mine spurs in the northern part of the Upper Peninsula would be extended over the coming years.
By 1871, the railroad would build a new mainline to connect Escanaba to Green Bay, Wisconsin. This line connected the Upper Peninsula lines to the rest of the core system.
The new line would head west along present day US-2, and drop south at Powers. From here, it would cross the Menominee River at Marinette.
It would go through Peshtigo and Oconto before finally reaching Green Bay from the north. The railroad would serve a solid freight base and stay very well off, until the Chicago & North Western sold it in 1988.

The C&NW intended to reduce the amount of route miles. This line got sold to the Wisconsin Central, Ltd. This regional railroad owned many former C&NW and Milwaukee Road lines in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
By 2001, the railroad would change hands again. This time, Canadian National Railway would take over.
Today, it continues to be operated as the Canadian National Marinette Subdivision

This common type through girder bridge crosses the Ford River parallel to US-2 and US-41 near Escanaba.
The bridge contains two large through girder spans, which likely replaced an older truss span of some sort.
These large through girders rest on stone substructures. Overall, the structure appears to be in very good condition.

The bridge has been rated as locally significant because of the common design, despite the historic integrity.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from US-2.


Source Type


Build Date American Bridge Company plaque
Contractor American Bridge Company Plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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