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Pont des Chars (Chars Bridge)

Pont des Chars (Chars Bridge)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 5, 2019

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Abandoned Canadian National) Over Rivière Richelieu
Sorel-Tracy: Montérégie, Québec: Canada
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Warren Through Truss, Movable: Swing (Rim Bearing Center Pier) and Approach Spans: Metal 5 Panel Rivet-Connected ,
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1896 By Builder/Contractor: Hyacinthe Beauchemin of Sorel, Québec
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
235.0 Feet (71.6 Meters)
Structure Length
500.0 Feet (152.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

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Bridge Documentation

This bridge has been altered, resulting in a severe loss of historic integrity and significance!

Bridge Status: The swing span of this bridge was collapsed by a boat collision in 2002!

Although the swing span of this bridge was destroyed by a boat, the two fixed through truss approach spans remain and have heritage value. Lengths given are estimates. The surviving through truss spans appear to be 120 feet in length each.

An 1896 construction date was given for this bridge. If accurate, the surviving fixed through truss spans are early surviving examples of rivet-connected truss construction.

A photo of the collapsed bridge can be seen in this articleMore information is in this article. 

Sylvain Perron provided some information on the name of the bridge: "char" is a noun that French-Canadians originally used for a railway car. With the advent of the automobile, "char" went on also to be used for cars. Modern usage of the word for railcar is uncommon.  It is also found in the phrase "un char pis une barge" (a railcar and a barge), meaning "a lot." So, pont des Chars stands for "Railcars' Bridge."

Above: Historical photo of bridge.

Above: 1980s photo of bridge. Photographer unknown.


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