Another N.B. covered bridge shut down after being deemed unsafe
Published Wednesday, November 8, 2017 8:48PM AST
Another one of New Brunswick’s historic covered bridges has been deemed unsafe and is closed to traffic.
The McGuire Bridge in Elmsville, N.B., near St. George, has been blocked off for over a month. Built in 1913, the bridge has a history with many families.
"I learned how to swim here at this bridge in the river,” says Brittany Gowan. “I had my graduation pictures taken here, my brother's wedding photos."
Gowan lived beside the McGuire Bridge for 29 years. She says the closure signs were put up without warning following an inspection by the province.
"We learned that there was a beam spanning the entire length of the bridge that was unsafe," says Gowan.”
New Brunswick Minister of Transportation Bill Fraser says safety is a number one priority when making these decisions.
"The last thing we would want to do is have a structure that's not safe and somebody could have an accident or get injured,” he says.
Roughly 60 covered bridges remain in the province. The latest to be torn down was the French Village Covered Bridge.
Gowan launched a Facebook page in an effort to save the McGuire Covered Bridge. Over 200 members have joined in under three days.
"We want answers. We want information on progress and the planning of what will happen. We want to know 100 per cent if they are going to repair this bridge, not replace. Repair," says Gowan.
Vern Faulkner successfully advocated for the Maxwell Covered Bridge in 2013 after it was heavily damaged when a vehicle smashed into the wall.
"The fact that the government hasn't come out and said what they are doing concerns me because there has been a track record of covered bridges going away quietly,” says Faulkner.
Minister Fraser says the Department of Transportation is working to repair the McGuire Bridge, but would not give a timeline. He says the province has inspected close to a dozen bridges this year and will continue that process each year going forward.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.