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Confederation Drive Bridge

Confederation Drive Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 20, 2013

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Key Facts

Smiths Falls: Lanark County, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1904 By Builder/Contractor: Locomotive and Machine Company of Montréal, Québec

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
159 Feet (48.46 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge's future is at risk!

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

View A Report That Claims This Bridge Should Be Replaced

This bridge is an uncommon example of a multi-span pony truss. Pony truss bridges tend to be single span structures more often. The bridge is traditionally composed, and overall retains decent historic integrity with no severe alterations, although it was noted that prior repairs had replaced some rivets with bolts. It is not known if the cantilevered sidewalk on the bridge is original, or if it was added.

Although the construction date for many of Ontario's rivet-connected truss bridges is unknown (at least to HistoricBridges.org), this bridge appears to be a very old surviving example of a rivet-connected truss bridge. Earlier truss bridges were typically pin-connected. The more rigid rivet-connected truss bridge represented an advancement in bridge construction.

For a small city, Smiths Falls has an impressive collection of heritage bridges, encompassing a wide variety of structure types including stone arch, fixed plate girder, bascule plate girder, plate girder swing, and this pony truss bridge. Despite this variety, this is the only example of a truss bridge. As such, this bridge is an important contributor to the unique variety of bridges here. This is why it is of great concern that a report recommended demolition and replacement of this bridge on the basis that it could not be rehabilitated to carry full legal loads. It is hoped that plans to demolish and replace this bridge will be halted. Instead, this bridge could be rehabilitated for light vehicular use, something that should be both feasible and cost-effective. This is not the main road through town, and it is not apparent that a lot of heavy trucks need to use this road. Another solution would be to preserve the bridge for pedestrian use. This could be done while building a new vehicular bridge next to this bridge, closing the crossing to motor vehicles permanently, or relocating the reusing the bridge elsewhere. Whatever the case, to maintain the unique collection of bridges in Smiths Falls, and to preserve this attractive pony truss, demolition needs to be reconsidered.


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