This small riveted pony truss bridge sits on relatively massive concrete abutments. The abutments are the only thing about this bridge that is massive however. The truss itself is extremely lightweight in design. As a lightweight bridge, the structure was likely not designed to hold as much weight as a more massive bridge. This is evident because despite the fact that the bridge appears to be in fair shape structurally with no significant pack rust or section loss showing, the bridge is still posted for an extremely low 2 tonne weight limit. Lightweight truss bridges like this may have been chosen by townships and other municipalities over more massive bridges for their reduced cost and easier erection/construction. It is among the older surviving rivet connected truss bridges in Ontario.
Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings
DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE The Otter Creek
Bridge, spans the Big Otter Creek and is located on Middletown Line
between Cornell and New Roads, in the Township of Norwich. The steel
pony truss bridge was constructed in circa 1900.
The property was
designated, by the Township of Norwich, in 1987, for its historical or
architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage
Act (By-law 33-87). The Otter Creek Bridge has also been listed on the
Ontario Heritage Bridge list, a list of provincially significant bridges
maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Culture.
Built by the Hamilton Bridge Company in circa 1900, the Otter Creek
Bridge is one of a few remaining steel, pony truss bridges in Ontario.
Steel bridges proliferated rapidly in Ontario after 1900, and pony
trusses, which were easy to erect, comparatively inexpensive and readily
available, peppered the landscape. The pony truss design is low, lying
alongside the bridge deck which allows light truss units to cross
relatively large spans. The single lane capacity of pony trusses,
however, resulted in many municipalities upgrading to two lane bridges.
The Otter Creek Bridge is of the Warren Truss form which uses
diagonals in the shape of “W's” as its bracing and load bearing system.
It also features bolted joints and a wooden deck.
The Otter Creek
Bridge is a significant landmark in Oxford County. It is located on what
was once a well traveled rural road in South Norwich. The Otter Creek
Bridge's location on a forested winding road, contributes to the scenic
rural landscape. It is a favourite location of local fishermen,
naturalists and artists.
Sources: Township of Norwich By-law
33-87; Discovering Heritage Bridges on Ontario's Roads, David J.
CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS Character defining
elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Otter Creek Bridge
include its: - Hamilton Bridge Works plaque located at the east end
of the south truss - one lane width - Warren truss construction
- timber deck beams - bolted skeletal framework, including diagonal
steel members and horizontal steel bracing - location spanning the
Otter Creek in a rural setting in South Norwich - location on a
winding forested road including steep hill approach on the south side of
Photo Galleries and Videos: Middletown Line Bridge