Work on the Black Bridge on Matthiasville Road is set to get underway next week.

The Town of Bracebridge has awarded a construction contract to McPherson-Andrews Contracting Limited for replacement of the bridge – with the project set to commence on Monday, with completion expected by the fall.

Bracebridge says Planmac Engineering Inc. is providing construction inspection and contract administration services for the bridge replacement on behalf of the town.

The Black Bridge is a 98-year old structural steel truss bridge located over the south branch of the Muskoka River on Matthiasville Road, approximately one kilometre northeast of Highway 118 East.

Back in 2016, an inspection conducted by C.C. Tatham & Associates Ltd. Consulting Engineers concluded the Black Bridge had reached the end of its useful service life and should be replaced.

Removal of the old bridge and replacement with a bowstring truss-type bridge painted black and with top bracing was approved by Town Council – following a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study and a Structural Design Report.

This solution was deemed to best meet the preferred alternative of the Class EA study and also satisfy most of the features requested by some residents along the road for the new Black Bridge.

The new bridge is designed for full highway loading, thus will have no load restrictions.

The town notes the height of the horizontal bracing will permit the passage of all motor vehicles that are legally permitted on Ontario highways.

A raised 1.5-metre sidewalk will be provided within the bridge trusses, on the downstream side.

The bridge crossing will be fully closed to vehicles and pedestrians during the bridge replacement and emergency services can access Matthiasville Road on the east side of the bridge via Highway 118 East to Hawn Road during the bridge closure.

Signs will be posted during the construction for guidance.

More information can be found at the town of Bracebridge’s website.