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Two Branch County bridges on national watch list

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Two of the 28 bridges in Michigan considered to be structurally deficient and fracture critical are in Branch County, but that doesn’t mean they’re a danger to motorists. The National Bridge Inventory inspection looks at more than 600,000 bridges across the country. The Associated Press poured over the data.

The structures in Branch County are the U.S. 12 bridge over the abandoned railroad tracks west of Coldwater between Batavia and Snow Prairie Roads and the Stancer Road bridge over the Coldwater Rivers in Union Township. The Michigan Department of Transportation says the bridge over the tracks could be refurbished but more likely, it’s a candidate to be taken down with U.S. 12 then reshaped into a level grade roadway over that stretch of the highway. It appears 2016 is the earliest such a project might be undertaken. No repairs or replacement are in the works for the Stancer Road bridge. It’s considered a historic structure and has a 3-ton weight limit.

The Associated Press research found there are 65,605 structurally deficient bridges and 20,808 fracture critical bridges across the nation with nearly 7,800 bridges falling into both categories.