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Middletown Line Bridge

Middletown Line Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Dave Stinchcombe

Bridge Documented: November 1, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Middletown Line Over Otter Creek
Location
Rural: Oxford County, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1900 By Builder/Contractor: Hamilton Bridge Company of Hamilton, Ontario

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

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

Discussion:

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.

HERITAGE VALUE
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. Cumming, 1951.

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 the bridge

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Middletown Line Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Middletown Line Bridge

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