Dix Avenue Bascule Bridge
Location Name: Dix Avenue Bascule Bridge (Detroit/Dearborn, Michigan)
Location Type: Bridge (Bascule)
Year Completed: 1926
Builder(s): Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company, Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company and others (designed by Leroy C. Smith, Harry A. Shuptrine and others)
The Dix Avenue Bridge over the Rouge River is a pratt deck truss bascule bridge with a fixed trunnion. The movement of below-deck counterweights allow the two roadway decks (known as leaves) to raise so that ships can travel up river. This bridge is one of three similar bridges crossing the Rouge River in Detroit; all were built in the 1920s to allow large ship traffic to transport cargoes to and from the Ford Motor Company River Rouge Complex that was recently completed upriver in Dearborn. Of the three bridges, Dix Avenue was the last to be completed in 1926 at a cost of $1,088,678.
Funded, owned and operated by the Wayne County Road Commission, the bridge was designed by Leroy C. Smith and Harry A. Shuptrine with the help of consulting engineers from the Chicago Bascule Bridge Company. The substructure of the bridge was built by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company and the superstructure by the Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company. The bridge’s main span length is 164 feet and the roadway width is 56 feet. The Dix Avenue Bridge is quite similar to the nearby Fort Street Bridge in both style and dimensions. The bridge connects the cities of Detroit (to the south) and Dearborn (to the north) in a heavily industrialized area of both cities. In the 1980s the bridge was found to be aging. A rehabilitation project was completed in 1989; the most noticeable change was the replacement of the decks. Although the nearby Fort Street Bridge is slated for demolition sometime in 2013 due to a failing foundation, it appears that the Dix Avenue Bridge will be in operation for many more years.Sources