Ontario will announce its preferred new cross-channel bridge location on March 30

Swing Bridge Little Current

LITTLE CURRENT – The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will unveil this month the final location and crossing type for the Little Current swing bridge replacement project, a ministry spokesperson confirmed to The Expositor Monday.

“The ministry has completed the evaluations and a new bridge alternative and alignment have been determined based on these evaluations and on comments received. We are currently finalizing material and will be releasing the selected new bridge option to the public at the next public information centre, which is scheduled for March 30,” spokesperson Mike Fenn stated in an email.

In light of COVID-19 safety protocols, MTO will be sharing the details online at its website for the project, SwingBridgeStudy.ca.

MTO officials will also take part in a virtual council meeting for the Northeast Town that same day, where they will share the details from the public information centre with the local government.

The Little Current swing bridge is 108 years old, opening in 1913 as a bridge for the Algoma Eastern Railway (the line later came under the umbrella of Canadian Pacific Railway). In 1946 it opened for both road and rail traffic.

Crews removed the rails from the bridge in the 1980s. Over its century of existence, the steel has begun to perforate in places and the bridge’s mechanical system has become less reliable. It carries the title of ‘oldest structure on a provincial highway in Ontario.’

The replacement process has been underway since 2017. The March 30 document release is the third ‘public information centre’ about the project, which are normally in-person events held on Manitoulin for residents to ask questions of engineers and MTO officials. 

All of the information sharing will happen virtually to avoid an in-person gathering during the pandemic.