The Township of Centre Wellington is undertaking a study on what to do with a historical bridge currently out of use.
The bridge, called 16-WG, is located on Fifth Line between Wellington Road 19 and Sideroad 15 north of Belwood Lake.
Centre Wellington’s heritage committee was told at a virtual meeting the bridge was built around 1910 and considered to be very rare.
“Studies determined this structure is a rare example of a solid spandrel, concrete arch bridge from the early 20th Century,” said consultant Lisa Marshall.
Marshall said only 11 of these bridges remain in Ontario with four of them in Centre Wellington.
However, its advanced age is catching up to it. Township manager of engineering Adam Gilmore said the bridge was closed this spring due to an advanced stage of deterioration.
“It is well beyond the end of its service life, I think it’s done remarkably well considering when it was constructed,” Gilmore said.
He explained the retaining walls have moved apart from each other beyond a threshold which deemed it unsafe and therefore required closing.
The study will examine alternative solutions including: do nothing — used as a baseline to compare — remove the structure and provide turnaround areas, replace the structure and rehabilitate the existing bridge.
Committee member Sherry Bonnell asked about the condition of the other three similar bridges as she said it would be nice to save at least one of them due to them being rare.
Gilmore replied he wasn’t certain of the condition of the others but because of regular monitoring on the old bridges he could bring a summary back.
Don Evoy, also a committee member, agreed with Bonnell as it would influence their input on what to do with the bridge.
“The one in the best shape would make sense to rehabilitate,” Evoy said.
Gilmore said there would be public consultation during the summer and they will be back to the heritage committee and council in November to present their findings.
Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com