Sunday, December 12, 2010

Abandoned bridge on Given Road

A little over two weeks ago, I was using GoogleMaps to trace the course of Kingston Road east from Toronto. It’s a fairly old route and I had the idea I might find some interesting remnants of old routes and that sort of thing. Eventually I found myself following the route of Highway 2. Something in the vicinity of the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 35/115 I saw something interesting.

I think I’d spotted this before but this time it really caught my attention. There was a road bisected by Hwy 115 that was called Browview Road on the west side and Given Road on the east. At the very end of Given Road, I could see what looked like an extant bridge, leading to nothing except the embankment of Hwy 115, still crossing Wilmot Creek. I decided I had to see this for myself. So, Sunday two weeks ago, I got in the car and headed east on the 401. A drive of a little over half an hour brought me to the Hwy 115 exit, and almost immediately to Hwy 2, which in turn gives quick access to Given Road.

Given Road is still a gravel road. I suspect, but I’m by no means sure, that it may once have been an original course of Hwy 2. Right now, the area around the join of Given Road and the course of Hwy 2 is under development; a subdivision is going in there. You can drive west along Given Road for around a minute or so till you come to the crest over the creek and the course of Hwy 115 below you. It’s possible to drive right up to the bridge, but there were signs telling me that was to be done under my own risk, so I parked at the crest and made my way down on foot.

The bridge has been closed for a very long time. According to Cameron Bevers’s excellent site, The King’s Highway, Hwy 115 was built in 1954, so the two parts of this road bridged here must have been severed at that time.



The bridge itself is in surprisingly good shape, at least to my eye. It seems likely to me its deck was wood planking, that’s long ago been removed either by intention or just the course of nature. I didn’t risk crossing it; not on a wet, wintery day by myself. In warmer weather, with a surer (bare) footing and someone to keep an eye on me, I’d probably have made the attempt (maybe next year). As it was, I had to content myself with the view from the east side.


Interestingly, not only was there a gate before the bridge (was it in use for something even after Hwy 115 was built?), but someone had, very recently, started clearing away overgrowth before the bridge. It makes me wonder if the bridge will be in pedestrian use soon for the inevitable dog-walkers who will come with the new development half a mile up the road. If so, my shots will be timely indeed. I’ll have to make a point of returning.

Below are views from the end of the okay-to-drive section of the western end of the once-united road cut by the highway; this part being called Browview Road today. These look back in the direction of Hwy 115 and the bridge out of sight on the other side.