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Ontario last covered bridge


Stephane Dumas:
I spotted this article about the last covered bridge of Ontario in West Montrose in the WKC area.

--- Quote ---WEST MONTROSE — The West Montrose covered bridge is slated for a major structural upgrade and the Region of Waterloo wants input from the public on proposed improvements to Ontario’s only remaining covered bridge.

“This is one of the iconic structures in the region,” said project manager Michelle Pinto.

Strengthening the 140-year-old wooden bridge is essential to preserve the landmark, Pinto said, and to ensure “visitors can continue to enjoy it for years to come.”

Because the bridge is an iconic site that draws visitors to its covered span crossing the Grand River and even a film crew for a unique backdrop in the blockbuster movie “It,” the aim of the repairs is to strengthen the bridge with minimal changes to its appearance.

“We want to maintain the look as much as possible,” Pinto said.

Construction is expected to start in summer 2023 and likely take until 2024 to complete, if approved by council when recommendations are presented this fall.

The federal and provincial governments earmarked more than $4.5 million in April 2021 for its repair and rehabilitation.

The bridge was built in 1881 with wooden trusses which were supplemented with steel trusses in 1950.

“They were installed to provide additional support to the bridge,” Pinto said.

The province took over ownership of the bridge in 1937 and in 1998 that was transferred to the Region of Waterloo, which undertook major rehabilitation of the bridge in 1999 including upgrading the steel trusses and replacing various wooden components followed by more repairs in the subsequent years.

Several studies were done between 2012 and 2018 to assess the hybrid dual-truss system, ultimately concluding that the bridge should undergo a major rehabilitation to its load-bearing system for the safety of the structure and its users.

The aging original wood trusses are transferring load to the steel trusses, which are not capable of carrying the entire load of the bridge. If too much load is shifted to the steel trusses, they could be overloaded and the bridge collapse.
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