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Porter Bridge

Marburg Bridge

Porter Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: March 20, 2012

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Marburg Road Over Black Creek
Rural: Norfolk County, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge's future is at risk!

Bridge Status: This heritage bridge is at risk for demolition and replacement by Norfolk County!

This bridge is one of a rapidly decreasing number of surviving riveted metal truss bridges in Ontario. This particular example retains excellent historic integrity with no significant alterations to the truss superstructure noted. Original lattice railings remain on the bridge. The heritage qualities of the bridge appear to be appreciated by a number of local residents. The bridge has been closed to traffic due to deterioration. Norfolk County has been seeking to demolish and replace bridge. Outcry from the local community caused the county to give greater consideration to rehabilitating the heritage bridge instead of replacing it.

The first consulting engineering firm that Norfolk County approached to analyze the bridge was G. Douglas Vallee Limited. Later, an April 9, 2012 Simcoe Reformer news article By Monte Sonnenberg, reported that the firm's engineer "will not lend his stamp to a project that keeps in place a single-lane bridge." The reasons given for this refusal included liability and safety concerns. The immediately proceeded to try to sell the county on a typical ugly modern concrete bridge.

Every engineer who produces plans for bridge work has to put their "stamp" on the design plans, which ties the plans, and the resulting construction they outline, to the engineer who signed off on them, and placed their stamp on the plans. Each engineer has the right to refuse to do work based on his or her judgment. However HistoricBridges.org strongly believes that an engineer who from step one is going to absolutely refuse to even consider the rehabilitation of a heritage bridge just because the bridge is one-lane (as many heritage bridges are) should not be a consultant for projects involving one-lane heritage bridges. Hiring a consultant who refuses to even consider rehabilitation of a heritage bridge will be unable to give a fair, balanced assessment of alternatives for the project, and will likely instead jump right to trying to sell a demolition and replacement project, with no serious consideration given to rehabilitation, despite the reality that rehabilitation might cost less and still meet the needs for the roadway. As such, hiring such a consulting engineer for projects involving heritage bridges should be reconsidered by the bridge owner. Instead, an engineer who is comfortable working with one lane heritage bridges needs to be sought. Engineers who have a deep and varied portfolio of experience successfully rehabilitating heritage bridges understand the ways in which a one-lane bridge can be made safe. Each bridge and its surrounding conditions are unique, but many methods exist and can be considered for each project. A few examples include traffic control: stop signs or even stop light signals at each end of the bridge to control the flow of traffic over the bridge, reduced speeds in the area of the bridge, or even improvement of the approach road grade to improve driver vision while crossing the bridge.


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