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Work to begin on contested covered bridge replacement in N.B.

September 17, 2021  By Rock to Road Staff

Construction is set to begin on the controversial replacement of a covered bridge in St. Martins, N.B.

The 32-metre, $3.5-million Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge will replace a 22-metre covered bridge built in 1935 that has been closed to traffic since June 2017, when engineers determined it unsafe for heavy vehicles.

Cars have continued crossing the Irish River using a temporary one-lane bridge that the province built beside the historic structure.

The current modular bridge will remain in place during construction and be removed once the new covered bridge is built.


The new bridge will be a box girder design on the base, but topped with a wooden cover to emulate the original structure.

But covered bridge purists say the very fact that the new bridge is made of steel means it’s not a true facsimile of the original. A bridge preservation group lobbied for the old bridge to be reconstructed using timber in a historically accurate way.

The bridge is a covered Howe Truss and is one of the province’s 58 historic single-lane covered bridges. The bridge also has a covered pedestrian sidewalk on the downstream side.

More than 200 people in the 300-person town signed a petition to preserve the bridge, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.

The department is working with First Nations and regulatory agencies to finalize permits for the project.

The new Vaughan Creek Covered Bridge will open in the summer of 2022. Construction crews will also make a slight change in the horizontal alignment of Big Salmon River Road to accommodate the new structure.

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