27 November 2022

The Tridge – Michigan's Three Way Bridge

A bridge normally has two sides, that much is taken for granted. Yet what do you call a bridge which crosses a river three-ways? The citizens of Midland in Michigan, US, were faced with this conundrum but solved it with aplomb. They took the words bridge and tri and combined them. The tridge was born.

Three way bridges are usually called tri-bridges and are not to be confused with y-bridges are just fork bridges wherein the traffic from one direction bifurcates in two directions. The tridge allows three way traffic. It is one of only twelve tri-bridges in the world, out of which merely four are for pedestrians.

No motor vehicles cross the bridge – it was built for people to cross on foot over the confluence of the Tittabawassee and the Chippewa rivers near the town of Midland. As bridges go it is pretty strange – a single pillar in the center supports three spokes. These spokes are each 180 feet in length.

At night the bridge is lit up beautifully.

The tridge marks the start of the Chippewa Nature Trail as well as the Pere Marquette Rail Trail. It is surrounded by the St Charles and Chippewassee parks and is quite a focal point for the leisure activities of Midland. As well as a regular farmers’ market the tridge hosts an annual Labor Day Walk.

Summer evenings attracts the town’s youth, being close to Midland’s downtown area – not to mention the teen allure of a pizza parlor and ice cream, shop as well as a coffee bar. Although ostensibly forgiven the bridge is a magnet for skateboarders who cannot resist its three spoked platforms.

When you see the marvelous eight foot wide wooden walkway you realize why skateboarders might be compelled to use the bridge as their latest play area!