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Henley Bridge

Henley Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: 2005

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) Over 12 Mile Creek
Location
St. Catharines: Niagara Region, Ontario: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1939 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1990
Main Span Length
150 Feet (45.72 Meters)
Structure Length
715 Feet (217.93 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
5 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

Information from Ontario Bridge Inventory: Bridge width: 20.8 meters. This bridge was originally two lanes on each side, but has been enlarged to four lanes on each side.

These are two parallel, identical bridges collectively known as the Henley Bridge. Each bridge carries one direction of QEW traffic over 12 Mile Creek. The Henley Bridge is a multi-span open spandrel concrete arch bridge, a rarity in Ontario. In 1989-1990, the bridge was widened by adding an arch rib to the outside of each bridge.

At the time HistoricBridges.org documented the bridge, the posts of the guardrails, even if perhaps not original, maintained their original architectural design but the segments of concrete in between the posts and all the metal poles are neither original nor representative of the original design. The outer railings appear to have been replaced again as part of a further rehabilitation that was beginning when HistoricBridges.org documented the bridge.

One of the most unique aspects of this bridge is the statues / sculptures that are at each end in between the bridges. They are in the shape of half of a boat, with some stylized lions at the top. When viewed from a distance, like from the overpass that is to the east of this bridge, this gives the effect that the bridge is a giant Egyptian raft. Cast into the concrete that makes up these designs is the information for the bridge. The bridge was opened to traffic on June 7th, 1939, in a ceremony that the King and Queen were at. In fact, mention is made that the bridge commemorates the first time a reigning sovereign entered a sister domain of Britain.

Decorations like these statues add interest to an otherwise bland drive on the expressway. Imagine if all over the expressway, there were sculptures and such mounted on abutments and barriers and such. Coupled with attractive designs of overpasses and guardrails (like the all now-demolished original overpasses of the QEW), one has something that is almost unheard of today: an aesthetic expressway - a roadway that is not only efficient, but is attractive as well. But all that costs money, and apparently money should not be used to make our world more beautiful anymore.

Further evidence of art and beauty on the freeway was originally found at the beginning of the freeway in Toronto as well. A large decorative monument commemorated the freeway. Specifically, it recognizes that the opening of this freeway brought the King and Queen over, not only for the first time ever, but also in a time of war where England was potentially in danger of invasion. This monument is shown on this page to the right. It was moved in the 1970s to Sir Casimir Gzowski Park in Toronto.

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