Earlier this week, Parks Canada officials determined the timber bridge at Jones Falls lock station was unsafe for public use.
The old wooden bridge was built in 1883 to connect the historic Hotel Kenney across Jones Falls Bay along the Rideau Canal lock system.
Parks Canada says the historic boardwalk bridge and has been repaired throughout the years, but after a recent inspection, concerns about the bridge’s girders have made the structure of the bridge no longer viable.
“The bridge itself dates to the late 1800s and it’s been renovated several times through the years but it’s been part of the history of this site,” Jamie Dickey, the project engineer at Parks Canada involved in the timber bridge replacement. “It used to be the major roadway through the site at one point so we want to maintain the historical value of the site.”
Parks Canada has put in a temporary bridge so people can still get from the historic to the Jones Falls Bay.
The replacement bridge will be a replica of the original, but its abutments and wing walls will be made with reinforced concrete.
The Jones Falls lock station will also be worked on this fall as part of a larger project that will cost around $20 million, according to Dickey. This funding is part of a $3-billion commitment to heritage infrastructure by the federal government.
The locks were originally finished in 1832 and Dickey says some of the stonework of the four locks on the site is in need of repair. Any of the original stones that have grown mould will need to be replaced, and in order to maintain the historic value of the locks, Dickey says the process will take a lot of labour. The work on the locks is expected to be finished in 2021.
— With files from Alexandra Mazur