I've scribbled a bit about Kirkhams Road here before. I'm not sure why I find it interesting. It's not really major, and never really was. Even back in the 1960s, it didn't really take you anywhere. It was just a wiggly little road that took you north and south across the Rouge River at the far east end of Metro, in an area that remains the last rural remnant inside the City of Toronto. But, it's a place in transition, and it's about to be largely lost, so I guess that's the attraction.
Kirkhams Road was effectively the northern extension of what's now Meadowvale Road in Scarborough, at least northward from Sheppard Avenue, where they met at a brief dogs leg intersection, just separated enough to be irritating. There were scores of such wonky intersections all throughout northern Metro into the 1960s. This was one of them.
Below is Kirkhams Road in the mid-1950s, somewhere around the time Hurricane Hazel came through... probably just before, because if I'm not mistaken, its bridge over the Rouge was one of the ones we lost, and in replacing it they normalized the course of the road south of the river somewhat. Kirkham Road is in the middle here; the one that snakes to the west to cross the Rouge before resuming its straight concession line course. The major road running more or less across the bottom of the view is Sheppard Avenue, which then, as now, veers off to the southeast; its continuation easterly across the Rouge is Twyn Rivers Road, a charming little stroll down into and up out of the valley, much favoured by locals, especially on weekends. (The view is from McMaster University's online plates of southern Ontarian overflights undertaken 1954-1955, covering an area called home by nearly every third Canadian today.)
...And below is what the same area looks like today, or two or three years ago, at any rate. You can see that this is essentially where development stopped in northeast Scarborough, which is now the quasi-official, maybe, but not quite, might be one day, Rouge Park. Meadowvale Road is the major spaghetti that's superseded Kirkhams Road, and the reason it could be closed a few years ago when its bridge was deemed structurally unsound to remain in the city's road grid.
I was looking back on what I'd said and shown about the road on the blog, and I noticed that when I was there on March 25th I was marvelling about how warm it was, and wondering what that would mean for spring. Well, as I recall, that didn't last. We had a crappy spring that never really arrived. It just lingered in tepidity until suddenly one day it was summer, and then summer quit early around mid-September, and we've been having Halloween weather a month early. Just mentioning this as an aside so when I look back at this the next time I post about Kirkham Road, I'll have a seasonal frame of reference.
Anyway, I was out there again yesterday, because I'd finally found a little information about what they have in mind with the work they've been doing there lately. I knew it was at least partly about replacing the water system that's currently serviced by pipes on the underside of the closed bridge. They're putting it through in what's called a "trenchless" (whatever that means) tunnel under the river between Kirkhams Road and Meadowvale Road. The hillside between them south of the bridge, where it was so overgrown in earlier shots, is now a bare patch of soil with big holes dug in it and tubes about a yard wide sticking out of them. I came down from the north side, and found three cars parked at the barricade, possibly Thanksgiving visitors to the house at the current road's end. Just beyond that, the big clearing on the northwest side is no longer a mystery: I understand now they're constructing a loop for traffic to turn around, since it's no longer able to cross the bridge. I was a bit surprised to see the bridge still standing; I thought it might have been pulled down already as part of the work. But I suppose if the waterworks aren't completed yet, the bridge is still needed. I wonder if they'll tear it down immediately once that infrastructure's in place and the stuff slung under the bridge is superfluous, or if taking the bridge down will be a separate contract to be undertaken at a later date. Ideally I'd like to get some shots of the bridge while it's been taken down, but without knowing when that will be, I know it will only be by unlikely good luck that I'll get any such shots. More likely I'll show up one weekend with the missing bridge a fait accompli.
It's my intention to post at least a few of the shots this evening as contrast with the ones I've posted before, so if you see this before they're here, and you care at all, check back later. :) Again, the shots were taken with the W3, which as I indicated an a previous post I find myself depending on more and more as my "camera of record" on such excursions because it captures the view in three dimensions and with pretty good quality (the video abilities of the W3 in particular are a huge, huge improvement over the previous W1... gee, was there ever a W2, by the way?).
I should probably take a couple of evenings and work together a post about the various roads and odd little rural quirks of Rouge Park. I also need to make sure I've kept the project files as up-to-date as they should be... make sure all the photos are in there, and geotag and keyword-process them. Boy, that takes time. The one bright spot in that is that Fuji finally released a utility to cut and even merge/transition the 3D AVI files its W1 and W3 cameras produce; something I've been waiting for literally for years. For instance, I was finally able to trim down a long dashboard video that included a bit about the (former) level crossing on Sheppard Avenue that I just couldn't include before because it came in the middle of a much longer trip, and as such would only have confused anyone who saw it in the future. So, recently I was able to extract just the pertinent section and put that into the folder. Thank you, Fuji. :)