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Michigan Bar Road Bridge mystery

Started by Max Rockatansky, March 23, 2024, 09:55:59 AM

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Max Rockatansky

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Michigan Bar Road Bridge at the Consumnes River at the namesake ghost town in Sacramento County.  This structure was supposed to be replaced by the county in 2020 but for reasons I'm unclear on this did not happen. 

0 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

The below report from Sacramento County shows the bridge to have been constructed in 1947.  I suspect this refers to the deck only as the pilings of the structure seem to indicate it is far older.

This is the page which indicates the progress which was supposed to happen regarding replacing the Michigan Bar Road Bridge:

To that end, the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Sacramento County doesn't indicate there is a bridge over the Sacramento River at Michigan Bar.;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=55&trs=85

The approaches to the bridge also don't seem as though they would have been likely constructed by the standards present during the late 1940s.  The 1894 USGS Map of Lodi indicates a bridge is present at Michigan Bar.  I suspect the current structure is likely incorporating the pilings of the span I'm seeing in 1894.  So, the titular mysteries are:

1.  When was the structure I'm seeing on the 1894 USGS Map built?
2.  Does the current Michigan Bar Road Bridge incorporate the pilings of an older bridge?

I'm really hoping to get this backstory right before I throw anything on Gribblenation.  I'm hoping for some sort of new resource that I'm just finding online.


1940 historic aerials shows a bridge in exact location of the current 1947 bridge, as does the 1937 Sacramento County map, as does this 1928 Sacramento County map

Also a bridge shown on an 1885 Sacramento County map which does indicate ferries in other river crossings.

This site says the bridge was a covered bridge previously.  Comparing the 1940 and 1952 aerial shots, it does seem apparent the previous bridge was wider (as the older supports imply was the case) but the image is too fuzzy for me to conclude it was covered.

Here is a 1939 photo of the bridge, not covered, which indicates that bridge was built in 1908 -

There appears to have been a big flood in 1907...

Max Rockatansky

Interesting the photo notes the first bridge was built in 1853.  I'm having a hard time reading the text, but it appears the original structure burned in 1879 and was later replaced by a ferry until a new span was erected in 1887.  That of course leads into that flood in 1907 you mentioned. 

Strange that a full-on truss span would be re-decked like this in 1947.  I'm kind of surprised the structure has survived as it this long.  I suppose Sly Park Dam being constructed in the 1950s helped curb flooding around Michigan Bar.


ha...didn't even read the handwritten part.  It looks to me like it says made a free ferry in 1879 and a new bridge built in 1887.  Don't see anything about a fire, unless that comes from someplace else.

Max Rockatansky

Could just be me having a hard time reading the handwriting. 


Max Rockatansky

Truth be told I'm not even sure what I was intending to go for there.

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