Cherryvale’s 87-year-old covered bridge being disassembled

CHERRYVALE, N.B. – Debris from the Cherryvale covered bridge is being be removed from the Canaan River this week, after flooding and ice broke the bridge free in the spring.

Flooding in April washed the bridge 20 kms downstream, wedging it below a span of the Trans-Canada Highway. The bridge has sat there until now.

Crews are disassembling the bridge and throwing most of it away.

“Mother Nature is cruel and when you get older, she’s crueler,” said foreman Gordon Mitten.

“It was built in 1927 and ice took it out.”

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But a part of the bridge is being preserved. Crews managed to salvage a 40-foot portion of the historical structure which will be saved and stored by the province.

They may use the wood to built another structure someday. But there are no plans right now to replace the 165-foot piece of New Brunswick history.

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One of New Brunswick’s 59 covered bridges.
One of New Brunswick’s 59 covered bridges. Steve Fiander/Global News

Moncton’s Heritage and Culture Coordinator Lawren Campbell said it’s another heartbreaking loss for the province.

“They are part of the fabric of every corner of our province so little bits of our heritage are being lost every time we lose one of these bridges to fires or floods or what have you,” Campbell said.

Of the hundreds of bridges that once spanned rivers across the province – 59 are left standing.

The province says it recognizes the heritage and tourism value of covered bridges and can provide funding to municipal and non-profit groups to assist with preserving covered bridges.

But the Cherryvale bridge one is gone for good.

“I hope a day doesn’t come when all we are doing when we talk about the history of covered bridges is that we see pictures and photographs and memories,” said Campbell.

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Piece by piece – crews dismantle and pluck the Cherryvale bridge from the Canaan River.
Piece by piece – crews dismantle and pluck the Cherryvale bridge from the Canaan River. Steve Fiander/Global News