Pedestrian Bridge over I-196

Holland Charter Township

While Holland Charter Township's trail system covers portions of the Township on either side of I-196, the two sides never connected until this ambitious project.

This bridge is among the only non-vehicular or railroad bridges over a Michigan Highway, let alone an Interstate Highway. Understandably, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) had concerns about it, but its value to the community outweighed them.

Pre-design research indicated that for a high number of residents living on both sides of I-196, the lack of a non-motorized crossing of the highway and the very unsafe Adams Street Bridge prevented them from using non-motorized forms of transportation with their families to travel back and forth between these two communities. Adams Street is a high-traffic, five-lane thoroughfare where it crosses I-196. The Adams Street Bridge over I-196 has only 3-ft-wide shoulders. This creates a safety hazard for those attempting to walk or bicycle across it. Holland Charter Township originally decided to pursue the construction of a non-motorized trail bridge over I-196 adjacent to Adams Street in 2000. Completed in September 2011 at a cost of 1.1 million dollars, the new Adams Street Pedestrian Bridge spans 236 ft. across I-196.

MDOT design requirements dictated that the bridge completely span both the east and west bound lanes I-196 including the clear zones outside of the shoulders to minimize the risk of vehicles hitting the abutments. MDOT was also concerned with the potential for people to throw objects off the bridge into the traffic below. Accordingly, a cage envelops the bridge to deter such unlawful behavior

CONTECH designed the actual bridge and pre-manufactured it in Minnesota. P&N’s engineers designed the foundations on either end of the bridge using the critical reaction values provided by CONTECH. The structural design met the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) codes. Usually engineers choose weathering steel for pre-fabricated bridges to minimize the need for future maintenance. In this case, MDOT’s concerns for salt-induced corrosion led P&N’s design team to recommend a painted corrosion protection system for the new bridge. Interestingly, the paint’s added weight warranted a stronger steel design than that required for a conventional weathering steel bridge.

The new Adams Street non-motorized trail bridge allows users to enjoy Holland Charter Township’s entire trail system without risking their lives crossing the dangerous Adams Street Bridge. It also provides a key strategic link between the lakeshore trail networks in Holland Township and the City of Holland (including connected non-motorized access to existing routes south to Saugatuck and north to Whitehall) and the Fred Meijer Kenowa Trail. Users can now ride over 40 miles to Grand Rapids and beyond on designated non-motorized pathways, making this a very significant link in the regional trail system. Holland Charter Township expects this new bridge to increase trail use within and beyond its own system.

Since Holland Charter Township built much of this project using grants from MDOT’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) programs, they effectively leveraged their own trails millage to get their residents a better value. Residents and users alike are ecstatic!


Call Scott Post, P.E. at 616-394-0200 Email at:

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