Tuesday, September 04, 2012

16th Avenue Bailey bridge

I've been keeping track of a couple of bridges over the past little while and I haven't bothered to blog about them. It's time I did something about that. This is for all the fellow road nerds out there. :)

I wrote about this little one-lane bridge before, almost two years ago. It's a Bailey bridge that carries 16th Avenue in the extreme east end of Markham over the Little Rouge River between Reesor Road and the York-Durham Townline. I don't know how long it's been there, but since Bailey bridges are an invention of the Second World War, and since a lot of bridges in the Toronto area were ripped out by Hurricane Hazel in October of 1954, my guess is the bridge dates from late 1954 to sometime in 1955 or so. At the time I last wrote about it, I predicted its replacement would be undertaken within the next 10-15 years. It actually came far quicker than that. I wandered out there not quite a month ago to discover to my amazement the work's underway.

Because it's of historical interest, the Rouge River Conservation Area folks want to keep it as a pedestrian crossing, and so the design of the new bridge has to take that into account. I always pictured it off to the side or something. But it looks like the new bridge is actually being literally built right over top of the old one. I've been out there three times in the last month. Not much changed between the first two trips (so I won't bother with the handful of uninspiring shots from August 19th) but the progress I saw when I was there yesterday, Labour Day, was astonishing. For one thing, you can actually access it again directly from the west side, where before there were huge chasms on either side. More remarkable, the new bridge isn't finished but the span now crosses the river. For the first time, ever, the Bailey bridge is now in shadow. Very soon, after 60 years under the sky, it will never know the touch of direct sunlight again. But at least it will still exist.

For your interest, photos of change.

September 1, 2010

August 6, 2012

September 3, 2012

1 comment:

jim said...

I don't think I've ever seen a new bridge built over the old. Seems like the old is about to become a great place to get mugged -- who will see?