Michigan's Department of Transportation is most commonly though of in terms of maintaining the state's vast network of highways. The agency is less though of for the work they do with air and rail travel. There is one spot, perhaps unique in the state where MDOT is doing substantial work all for snowmobilers.

The location is an old crossing of the Au Sable River in Northern Michigan. M-65 is the north-south highway through that region. There, a few miles south of a little settlement named Glennie is where M-65 crosses the Au Sable. The crossing is at the 5 Channels Dam. A historic bridge once did the work for the highway's traffic.

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That bridge was rehabbed in 1998 but closed to traffic just a few years later. The reason given was the narrowness of the bridge and steep approaches. Since MDOT has recently done work on the bridge, the decision was made to not demolish the old bridge was the highway was redone. Instead, unlike so many other bridge that meet the wrecking ball,

MDOT did not demolish the historic bridge and instead continued to own the historic bridge, allowing it to stand next to its replacement as a non-motorized crossing, later planning to also allow snowmobile use on the bridge. Thanks to the rehabilitation that occurred only a few years before the bridge's vehicular service ended, the bridge remains in excellent condition today.

The old bridge is easily seen on Google Maps Street View, labelled as Old M-65 Trail - a nod to the roadway and bridge's current use. The pavement approaching the bridge is deteriorating a bit and is marked with the smaller road signs common to snowmobiling. There is a Road Closed sign for any driver who does manage to hit the side road from the main highway.

Old M-65 Road Closed
Google Maps Street View

Why exactly did MDOT replace a recently rehabilitated bridge? The question came up on a Facebook group dedicated to old road alignments. The answer:

long story short it just isn't modern. It's VERY narrow and the approaches are so steep! I wish I would have photographed them. The weather is pretty severe in the winter, and I think it was ultimately a safety issue.

So should you ever find yourself in the Au Sable Valley - taking a drive perhaps on River Road, one of Michigan's 3 National Scenic Byways - take the turn off and take a walk on the old bridge.

Inside Michigan's Most Hospitable Airbnb on the Banks of the Au Sable River

In the word of Airbnb, there is wonderful and then there is amazing. Reviews and high ratings make all the difference in the success of a property and making sure those guests keep coming back.
Airbnb recently released its list of the "Most Hospitable Airbnb Host in Every U.S. State", and Michigan's top pick was all about simplistic rustic charm and the little things that make a stay special.
Michigan’s charming log home “Holy Waters Hideout,” is hosted by Jeanne and Chad and they welcome guests to enjoy a stay on the banks of the Au Sable River in their private lower-level walkout. Pure Michigan comfort with all the little extras earned this Airbnb over 200 great reviews and overall rating of 4.97 out of 5 with high marks in the key categories of cleanliness, check-in, and communication. Take a look inside and click here to book your stay!

Gallery Credit: Airbnb

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