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Seneca Bridge

Seneca Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: March 20, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Caithness Street (Old Alignment) Over Black Creek
Caledonia: Haldimand County, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1913 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
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

The bridge is mentioned in Caledonia: Along the Grand River, a book by Barbara Martindale. The bridge was erected by Melvin Runchey. His services cost $200 to complete construction in two months. The truss superstructure was the product of the prolific Hamilton Bridge Works. The cost of the superstructure was $1000. J. H. Creighton received just under $100 for planking, while Caledonia Milling Company also recieved $114.50 for "cement and lumber." The total cost of the bridge was $1400. The bridge served traffic until 1950 when a new highway alignment was constructed parallel to the bridge immediately to the north. As part of the highway construction, the small Black Creek was realigned so that it passed under the road and entered Grand River a short distance to the west. The construction of the new alignment filled in the old creek bed, nearly to the bridge itself. Today, it is dry under the bridge.

The bridge is a listed heritage structure, since it is locally significant as a product of local contractors and is today a locally rare example of its type. The bridge retains good historic integrity including original railings. The deck appears to be concrete with a wood plank base remaining in place.

Today, the bridge has been abandoned for over half of a century. One of the significant issues that has developed with the bridge is that the north truss is becoming severely bent and distorted. Some of the damage may have been from specific events like a tree possibly falling on the bridge. Additionally, all the dirt piled up to fill in the creek comes very close to the truss at the eastern end. This dirt might be putting pressure on the bridge and its abutments. Also, this area of dirt is now home to what has become a full size tree. This tree appears to be putting pressure on the bridge. Now would be a great time to consider the restoration and preservation of this bridge. Removal of the tree would be a great and easy start. The truss itself could also be restored. It is possible to correct the bending of the steel through methods like heat straightening.

Information and Findings From Canada's Historic Places

Description of Historic Place

The Seneca Bridge is a small steel and concrete bridge, crossing the Black Creek on the River Road (Highway 54, between Caledonia and Cayuga), in Haldimand County. Following the 1912 Good Road Convention's guidelines, the bridge handled all the road traffic between the two towns for more than thirty years.

It was designated for its historical and architectural value through Haldimand County By-law 443/84.

Heritage Value

The Good Road Convention, at Toronto on May 7, 1912, recommended that all new bridges from four to forty feet in length be built with steel beams embedded in concrete for structural stability. Any bridge over forty feet in length should be built solely of steel. The Seneca Bridge, built in 1913, and following these recommendations, has lasted more than 90 years, though it is no longer in use. Constructed by local contractors, the bridge stands as a testament to the area's economic development. The Ontario provincial government took over control of River Road from Cayuga to Caledonia from the Country, in or before 1937. At that time, it was renamed Highway 54. The Seneca Bridge handled all traffic between the two towns until 1950, when it was replaced with a larger structure. The bridge still stands today.

The bridge itself is small steel re-enforced concrete bridge over the Black Creek. Though it is no longer in use, it has stood the test of time. Its steel under supports and decorated side crash walls remain intact.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Seneca Bridge include its:
- location along Black Creek for area traffic for more than 30 years
- steel and concrete construction


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