2019 Update: This bridge was reported to have a 1971 construction date, confirming original suspicions that much of the material on this bridge might be modern. While this date limits the heritage value of the bridge, it nevertheless closely replicates a very old, historical swing bridge design and offers interpretive value in terms of this bridge type.
This highly unusual bridge is representative of some of the earlier swing bridge designs that have been used on the Rideau Canal. Earlier swing bridges on the canal were rim bearing swing bridges and required two people to operate. This was a later center-bearing design, and could be operated by a single person. The method in which the bridge was operated was simply by pushing the end of the bridge. Unlike some of the later hand-turned swing bridges that involve walking a bar around in circles to turn a gear system, this bridge design simply operates on pure manpower with no other assistance. This design of swing bridge was used on the canal since 1864. Like its method of operation, the design of the bridge is somewhat simple, producing an archaic appearance. The superstructure is wooden. Also, wooden posts are present on the bridge and from these extend stays that help stabilize the bridge. These posts and stays have led some to wrongly classify this bridge as a Kingpost truss. However, the posts and stays are not a truss, and instead just provide stability for the bridge. This system of posts and stays are called Samson posts. The bridge seen here today is of questionable material significance, meaning that a lot of the materials may not be original. It is reported that since its original construction it has been rebuilt several times. It is unsure what materials if any are original, and is is also unclear what materials might be old and which are relatively modern. Some of the metal parts on the bridge like the stays have a somewhat modern look to them. Other metal parts like the rollers under the bridge look like they could be older. Despite the lacking historic integrity, the bridge appears to retain integrity of design and function. The bridge seen today continues to operate by hand, and its structural systems appear to maintain the original intended design.
Original / Full Size Photos
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CarCam: Westbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
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