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Lord Selkirk Bridge

McNaughton Avenue Bridge

Lord Selkirk Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: September 7, 2003 and August 2006

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
McNaughton Avenue (KH-40) Over Sydenham River
Wallaceburg: Chatham-Kent Region, Ontario: Canada
Structure Type
Metal Through Girder, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1950 By Builder/Contractor: Dominion Bridge Company of Montréal, Québec
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
151.6 Feet (46.2 Meters)
Structure Length
360.2 Feet (109.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
27.9 Feet (8.5 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is similar in appearance to bridges seen in Chatham in terms of bascule superstructure, but lacks the plate girder approach spans and has a larger main bascule span. This bridge in Wallaceburg does have approach spans, but they are stringer spans, with the unusual detail being that they are supported by timber bents, which is strange given the rest of the bridge is built of concrete and steel. Also, this bridge is a fixed trunnion bridge whereas Chatham is noted for its rolling lift bascules. The Lord Selkirk fixed trunnion design places the motor and pinion on the bascule leaf in the vicinity of the counterweight, while engaging the rack which is placed on the wall of the tail pit. This is the opposite of the more common Chicago design where the motor is located beside the leaf, with the pinion engaging a rack mounted on the leaf.

This bridge is still in operation, as Wallaceburg is visited by recreational boats and such. The bridge is similar to some bascule bridges seen in Chicago, IL that have the trusses (or in this case plate girders) slightly above the road deck, where they also act as guardrails for vehicles, while the remainder of the girder or truss is located below the deck. Among the contractors listed on the bridge's plaque, the prolific Dominion Bridge Company is most notable. The plaque also mentions an A. Sedgwick, referring to the noted Ontario Department of Highways engineer. No consulting engineer is listed on the plaque, suggesting this might have been an in-house design, perhaps under Sedgwick's direction. Given the complexity of designing movable bridges, if this were true, it would add to the heritage significance of this bridge.


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