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Riverside Drive Bridge

Riverside Drive Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: April 10, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Riverside Drive Over Railroad (Abandoned)
Windsor: Essex County, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Metal Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1928 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
93.5 Feet (28.5 Meters)
Structure Length
100.0 Feet (30.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
32.2 Feet (9.81 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

The Riverside Drive Bridge is a structure that hints at how much the landscape along the river in Windsor has changed over the years. The bridge is a large single span through plate girder that once crossed a railroad. Since the Detroit River is a very short distance from the bridge, it appears that the railroad and bridge were built to provide an industry or industries along the with access to the railroad system.  Thus, the railroad either ended at this point or continued along the riverside. Today, the railroad is long gone and any industry that was along this section of river is equally long gone. Today, there is a riverside park that provides beautiful views of the Detroit skyline and the Detroit River, with the Ambassador Bridge partially visible far in the distance to the south. Thus, the railroad bridge is the last surviving remnant and evidence of  industry along this section of river. The bridge is 47.2 Feet (14.4 Meters) wide.

The Riverside Drive Bridge appears to be in good physical condition and it should be maintained and preserved as one of the only bridges of any heritage value that is entirely within the city limits of Windsor. The bridge is an excellent example of plate girder technology on account of its lack of alteration and its large span size, which results in the strikingly tall girders. The bridge also features a cantilevered sidewalk on the south side of the bridge. The sidewalk features pipe railings with decorative metal railing posts. The bridge contains a concrete deck, although it is overlaid with an asphalt wearing surface. The bridge is seated on stone abutments that are capped with concrete. The bridge's steel contains marks for Illinois Steel that read "Illinois-S-USA."

Located adjacent to a riverside park, the Riverside Drive Bridge is a structure which the public can easily view and interpret. An unusual UFO-like sculpture in the park is located next to this bridge as well, so the location is already set up to attract the curiosity of park visitors, and the preservation of the bridge (along with an interpretive sign describing the history of the bridge and its purpose) would be an appropriate and logical extension of the exhibits. Also, perhaps such a facility is already in the works, but the abandoned rail line under the bridge could likely be turned into a non-motorized trailway, which would bring a sense of function to the bridge once again.

This bridge may come under risk of demolition in the future. The City of Windsor reports that long term the bridge will most likely be removed and probably replaced with smaller structure to service park lands/trail. This would be  unfortunate, and it would be preferable from a heritage preservation standpoint to rehabilitate the existing bridge. If the bridge  is indeed replaced however, it may still be possible to place the girders on top of the replacement as non-functional historic landmarks. Alternatively, the bridge could be relocated someplace else and put into service perhaps for non-motorized traffic on a trail system.


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