Little Current swing bridge undergoing nightly repairs throughout November

Signs at the swing bridge in Little Current herald delays through the month of November as deck plates are replaced. photos by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT – Those travelling off-Island or returning home recently have found themselves waiting, unseasonably, for the bridge to open. The Expositor reached out to the Ministry of Transportation to find out what was in the works.

“Maintenance work is currently underway on the approaches to Little Current swing bridge,” said Jaclyn Lytle, communications coordinator Northeast operations with the ministry. “It is anticipated that this work will be completed by Friday, November 5. Following the completion of this work, maintenance to the bridge deck will commence. This work is anticipated to take approximately one month to complete, weather permitting.”

Those curious about when the Island might expect to receive a replacement for the venerable old structure that serves as the only all-season access to Manitoulin (notably highlighted by recent municipal debates on the number and timing of openings) will have to remain so.

“Although the timing for detail design or construction of the Little Current swing bridge replacement has not yet been determined,” said Ms. Lytle in response to whether there are any timelines set for the replacement, “the bridge continues to be maintained and remains safe for public use.”

Ms. Lytle went on to note that the Little Current Swing Bridge Study is part of the Ministry of Transportation’s ongoing review of the provincial highway network (the swing bridge currently holds the record as the oldest structure in that network.) “Although the timeline for implementing the results of this study is not confirmed,” said Ms. Lytle, “this planning study will assist the ministry, municipalities, business owners and private landowners with information for future planning and development within the study area.”

So, a new bridge is coming, someday, some way and we now know pretty much exactly where, but when it comes to exactly when, the answer remains—who can say?