This bridge is one of the few known remaining riveted through truss bridges in Simcoe County, a county in Ontario covering a large land area. The bridge is an example of an unusual design of subdivided double-intersection Warren truss that is unusual outside of Ontario, but can be found in above average numbers in Ontario. The design is also distinguished by end posts with a shallow incline. The end post itself is subdivided, since it contains a vertical member which leads to a floor beam. In 2012, when HistoricBridges.org first documented this bridge, this bridge was one of two remaining bridges out of a group of three similar bridges, all identified as slated for demolition by Simcoe County. The third bridge was already demolished.
While HistoricBridges.org has not located a copy of a completed environmental assessment for this proposed bridge project, a review of projects for two similar bridges in the county lead HistoricBridges.org to believe this bridge is in grave risk for demolition and replacement. One of the problems with the the other two bridges was that the environmental assessment process provided a lot of misleading data, particularly the statement that a rehabilitated bridge would only last 25 years, while a replacement bridge would last 75 years. Assuming the rehabilitated bridge would receive routine maintenance and repair, such statements go against common sense. If this bridge were the recipient of a comprehensive rehabilitation and then maintained in the years to come, it should provide like-new service. Certainly, a low-quality rehabilitation might yield a short service life. However, in the interest of wise spending of money and heritage preservation, a high quality rehabilitation capable of giving a much longer service life should be the benchmark.
It appears one of the areas of greatest concern on the truss structure is the floor beams. Floorbeams are one of the most commonly replaced parts of a truss bridge during rehabilitation, so the deterioration of the floorbeams should not be cause to dismiss the possibility of preserving the historically significant truss superstructure.
It is hoped that Simcoe County will reconsider demolition plans and move to rehabilitate this bridge. However, as of 2018, they still plan to demolish the bridge. Worse, they somehow are claiming that the bridge does not merit inclusion within the Ontario Heritage Bridge List. This may indicate a need for the heritage bridge assessment process to be revised, and/or continuing evidence that a provincial-wide heritage bridge inventory is needed. There are not many of these truss bridges left. Examples with good historic integrity like this one should be considered to have heritage significance.
Eric May provided photos below showing the bridge site as of March 15, 2018, which shows preparation work for replacement bridge construction underway.
Photo Credit: Eric May
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