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in awe of a bowstring bridge

September 29

When driving out in the countryside en route to a cottage or an antiquing jaunt, I often like to follow a road less travelled. Driving by feel and with minimal guidance by a less-than-detailed map of Ontario, one never knows what architecture or design finds one might stumble upon. I was pleasantly surprised to happen across a wonderfully preserved example of a reinforced concrete bowstring bridge on one such driving adventure in a rural area near Udora, Ontario.

In the early 1900s, road and highway engineers began to favour reinforced concrete as the material of bridge construction over higher cost and maintenance steel construction that had been popular in the decades before. One design that gained popularity in Ontario the 1920s and 1930s was the reinforced concrete bowstring bridge,  a relatively inexpensive, adaptable, and low maintenance structure. The simple yet functional lines of these bridges still capture a modern aesthetic, yet clearly reflect the streamlined focus of design from that era. It was a real boon to come across this narrow, single-bow version, practically in the middle of nowhere, as examples of this particular type of civil engineering are becoming scarce. I did not mind adding time to my journey to take these photos in the serene silence of a country setting. If you would like to visit this bridge in person, it is located on Concession Rd 2 (Old Shiloh Road) between Weirs Side Rd 81 and Victoria Rd 82.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30 9:08 am

    Wow, what a beautiful bridge!! I’ve never seen one like it — the shape and design are so unique. It’s like a concrete piece of art 🙂



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