Bridge from the past

Concrete bowstring bridge outside Guelph

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you see something at the side of the road that you just have to stop and check out. This is a prime example from last year: a concrete bowstring bridge beside the current alignment of Stone Road outside Guelph. According to the crossbar, it was built in 1916.

Concrete bowstring bridge outside Guelph

The modern bridge that carries Stone Road today was built in 2005, but it’s difficult to believe that the old bridge was still carrying cars just four years ago; it looks like it’s in pretty rough shape.  The bridge was designated as a heritage structure in 2003 (PDF) and became part of a walking trail along the Eramosa River after Stone Road moved a few metres north to the new bridge.

Concrete bowstring bridge outside Guelph

Concrete bowstring bridge outside Guelph

I don’t know when we stopped building this kind of bridge, but I think the two that still exist in the Don Valley date from around the same era as this one. The sight of a concrete bowstring bridge always makes me smile; they seem to strike the perfect balance between elegance and industry.

2 Replies to “Bridge from the past”

  1. Wellington County has a number of bowstring bridges. Unfortunately, they are disappearing as they get replaced by newer bridges. Glad to see this one has been preserved, even if it looks like it is suffering from neglect. Surely without heavy vehicular traffic this bridge can reach its centenary.

    Thanks for the reminder of these bridges. I used to tour around Wellington County by bike in my University of Guelph days.

  2. Hi, Val–Stumbled on your site totally by accident, and glad I found this post re the bowstring bridge in Guelph. You may not know there is a similar bridge near your cottage, just east of Bewdley (I figure you know where Bewdley is because your cottage is on Rice Lake and I see lots of posts re Hamilton Twp). I am on the heritage committee in Hamilton Twp and we’re keen on getting the bridge designated and restored. Hope you don’t mind if I steal your pics and use them to illustrate how these bridges can be put to practical use.

    When the weather gets better, you should take a ride past. It’s called the Sackville Bridge, just off County Rd 9. it’s the site of an old mill pond.


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