This Michigan Bridge Will Never Be Rehabbed Because No One Agrees Who Owns It
There's a narrow old bridge that crosses Nottawa Creek south of Battle Creek. It's long been closed to traffic and left to rot abandoned. There is little to no chance it will ever see traffic again, but no one can agree who actually own the bridge.
2 Counties Names, 2 Road Names, 2 Creek Names, 2 Dates of Construction
There is plenty to find interesting about Well's Bridge. The crossing sits on the county line between Calhoun County to the north and Branch County to the south. Additionally interesting, it sits just over 1500 feet from the point where Branch, Calhoun, Kalamazoo and St Joseph Counties all meet.
The bridge connects 1/2 Mile Road on the Calhoun County side to Marl Lake Road on the Branch County side.
The waters crossed by Well's Bridge has two names as well: Nottawa Creek or Nottawassepee River, a 33-mile long tributary of the St Joseph River.
There are two given dates as to when the bridge was built. Ether 1904 or 1914. HistoricBridges.org suspects the correct date is 1904.
Visiting the Bridge
There's not much of 1/2 Mile Road that's driveable in Calhoun County. The road is marked closed at County Line Drive and it's just a few footsteps to the bridge. It's easier to reach Well's Bridge from the south, Branch County side via Marl Lake Road, a dirt road off of Factoryville Road, that dead ends at the bridge. There's a turnaround that offers space to pull over and park. The photo above shows this approach to the bridge.
A fan on BridgeHunter.com says the 80-foot bridge
is located on a Marl Rd. a narrow, dirt road, dead-end at 1/2 Mile Rd. in Calhoun Co. A hole has been burned through it and a board placed over it. It is a true hidden, rusty relic. I enjoyed tracking it down.
The Future of Well's Bridge
Could Well's bridge ever see traffic again? How about a move to the Historic Bridge Park near the St Joseph River in Battle Creek? Neither of that seems likely due to the fact, as HistoricBridges.org reports,
This bridge is listed in the inventories as being in Calhoun County, although the two counties have long disputed who actually owns this county line bridge....
Calhoun County at one time planned to relocate this bridge to Historic Bridge Park, however the county no longer is planning to add bridges to the park, and so the bridge's future is uncertain, particularly considering that the bridge has abutment problems. Left as it is for too many years, the abutments would eventually begin to twist the superstructure of the bridge, which would go on until it caused the bridge to collapse.
So there you have it. Perhaps someday Well's Bridge will fall into the creek below. Until then, expect it to sit a quiet sentry on a way-out-of-the-way county line in southern Michigan.