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Kitchener has a couple of very long multi-span concrete bowstring through arch bridges, commonly called rainbow arch bridges over Grand River. Freeport Bridge is the other one in town. The Bridgeport Bridge is the shorter and newer of the two with five spans and a 1934 construction date. It is no less impressive however, and the structure retains a great deal of integrity. Plaques list the 1934 construction date as well as the designer and commission engineer for the bridge which was D. J. Emrey. It was built under a Suburban Roads Commission. The contractor for the bridge is listed as The Storms Contracting Company of Toronto, Ontario.
The bridge is the first at the location, and replaced a ferry crossing at the site, according to area resident Susan Bender. She provided the following history:
"This bridge was a wonderful addition to getting over the river when it was built and greatly added to the community. My mother told me that before the bridge was built, her family would take the trolley from Kitchener down to Bridgeport, then have to take a ferry over to the other side to go fishing and have picnics. When the bridge was built, it was a much easier crossing." -Susan Bender, August 2009
As of August, 2009, this bridge underwent a major rehabilitation. In addition to structural repairs, rehabilitation included placing modern lighting on the bridge with heritage style lighting that will better match the original style of lighting present on the bridge in the 1930s. The rehabilitation also added a cantilevered sidewalk to the southern side of the bridge. This new sidewalk included railings that replicated the design seen on the original sidewalk on the northern side of the bridge. Prior to rehabilitation, the overall condition of the bridge was good, although there was some minor spalling under the deck which has exposed some of the reinforcing rods in small isolated spots. The top side of the deck looked like it was redone with a new layer of concrete and new expansion joints as well in the fairly recent past. Some sections of the arches looked like they were patched at some point as well.
Don Drews created a YouTube slide show of this bridge available here.
Information and Findings From Waterloo Region Heritage Bridge Inventory
Waterloo Region Assigned Heritage Ratings:
Overall Score: 64. (Heritage Bridge scores range from 50 up to generally 78)
Listed in Top Ten Waterloo Region Heritage Bridge List. Rank: #8
View Heritage Bridge Inventory Data Sheets
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