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Lakeshore Road Bridge

Welland Canal Bridge #1

Lakeshore Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2005

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Lakeshore Road and Railroad (Abandoned) Over Welland Canal
Rural: Niagara Region, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is one of several single leaf plate girder bascule bridges on the Welland Canal. The Lakeshore Road bridge is both interesting and unique among Welland Canal bridges because it once carried both cars and trains on the same deck. Old railway tracks were visible to the east of the bridge that proved that a railway once used this bridge as well. By 2005, on the bridge itself, the deck no longer contained any tracks, and had been shut off on the side where the tracks once were to keep cars off of it.

Bascule bridges can have counterweights above or below the deck of the bridge. This is an example of a plate girder bascule bridge with the counterweight above the deck. You can see a lot of the mechanics and gears easily as a result. The plate girder is attached to the counterweight by some steel braces, some of which are v-laced or latticed. The guardrails are original, and are the ornate lattice with scrollwork style that is common on the Welland Canal but uncommon elsewhere. One unusual thing about this bridge is that one of the far ends of the plate girder is curved, and the other is square. It is unclear why this is, and even more odd it looked original; it did not appear to be the result of a repair.

Movable bridges often have over the course of their service lives some interesting stories and incidents. On July 22, 2013, someone heading eastbound tried to run the red light just before the gates came down to begin the raising the bridge. The red pickup truck stopped before getting on the bridge deck, but then was unable to reverse because the gates had come down, putting the truck in the rather unpleasant position directly where the counterweight lowers down to. The bridge tender was apparently unaware of this, began raising the bridge normally. In an instant, a new pickup truck was turned into a pile of scrap metal as the counterweight brought the roof of the truck down to the level of the hood of the truck. Fortunately, the driver of the truck was smart enough to evacuate the truck before this happened. While this all was enough to ruin the truck, it should be noted that the bridge was stopped before being fully raised. When fully raised, the counterweight nearly touches the roadway.

Counterweight blocks are visible on the leaf girders. This suggests the bridge leaf is lighter than when the bridge was first built, requiring weight to be added to the leaf to maintain proper balance. This may be due to the removal of the railway tracks.


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