A beautiful fall day greeted some 130 well-wishers as Alger County Road H-58 was dedicated in a ceremony on Friday, October 15. The Alger County Road Commission hosted the event at the newly completed Hurricane River Bridge, which lies along the 45 mile stretch of road serving as the primary access road to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
The paving project culminates a 15 year effort to improve H-58 involving the National Park Service, Alger County Road Commission, State of Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Michigan Congressional delegation, and citizens from the gateway communities of Munising and Grand Marais. The lakeshore recommended the improvement in its 2004 General Management Plan.
Acting Superintendent Chris Case noted that the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on the 44th anniversary of the enabling legislation for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
“Today we celebrate the completion of a scenic road that will serve residents and nearly a half million visitors now, and untold numbers into the future, remarked Case. “Grand Marais, Munising and Alger County have joined the ranks of other gateway communities adjacent to parks like Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smokey Mountains and Shenandoah National Park with scenic drives that include the classic architectural features of hand laid stone bridges build by Conservation crews.”
“We can imagine that -- if Pictured Rocks were authorized just 30 years earlier -- our fathers and grandfathers working on Civilian Conservation Corps crews, using rock found along this river, would have built this bridge,” imagined Case. The Hurricane River Bridge is the showpiece of the road construction, with form-lined concrete arch construction with hand-laid stone along the roadway face.
Within the park, the road was designed as a low speed scenic drive. Since its opening, the drive has already become popular with bicyclists and motorcyclists as well as autumn visitors to the Lakeshore.