Monument to honour historic Huron East bridge
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Huron East will be replacing its Kinburn Line bridge at Front Road, known internally as the T13 bridge, but council is moving ahead to ensure that while it might be gone, its historical value won’t be forgotten.
Council discussed the bridge at its Jan. 19 meeting. The municipality received funding to replace it from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (Rural and Northern Stream) last year. The total replacement cost is over $2.5 million, with the federal government paying nearly $1.3 million, along with the provincial government paying over $850,000, leaving the municipality to pay just under $430,000.
The bridge itself, however, has historical significance to the municipality and the former Tuckersmith Township.
“Construction was started on a new bridge in July, 1947, when the old one was destroyed by spring floods. In 1974, Dave Morrissey of Ailsa Craig sandblasted and painted the bridge for $1,860,” stated a BM Ross report on the bridge prepared for Huron East Council. “The most recent improvement was the reconstruction and raising of the deck by two feet in September, 1984, at a cost of $41,198 by C.A. McDowell Ltd., Centralia.”
The report also made mention of the bridge’s cultural heritage value as a strong representative example of a riveted pony truss bridge. The design, according to the report, retains a relatively high level of integrity with original gas pipe railings.
The report also concluded that retaining the historic bridge was impractical, given the state of deterioration in the structure.
At council’s Jan. 20 meeting, Public Works Director Barry Mills discussed the municipality’s plans to honour the memory of the bridge, which he had discussed with Economic Development Officer Jan Hawley and Councillor Gloria Wilbee at a recent meeting of the municipality’s heritage committee.
The proposal would include a heritage sign with a QR code that would take those interested, via their smartphones, to a website with pictures of the original bridge and further information on its historical significance. They also proposed the creation of a monument to the bridge, made from pieces of the structure, preferably a truss member and a piece of the railing.
The bridge is scheduled to be replaced this spring.