Project Background

Bridge History

Argyle Street is considered the main street of Caledonia, Haldimand County, and serves both local traffic and commercial vehicles. The Argyle Street Bridge is a landmark bridge that serves as a gateway to the heritage downtown Caledonia and contributes to the special character of the local community and the surrounding landscape. It carries two lanes of traffic and two pedestrian sidewalks across the Grand River and provides a crucial transportation link for Caledonia and the surrounding community.

Study Map

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A crossing of the Grand River at Argyle Street has been in place for over 160 years. The first bridge was a six-span wooden structure erected in 1843 to provide unimpeded passage on the plank road between Hamilton and Port Dover. In 1875, a six-span iron bridge replaced the timber bridge, which was regularly washed away by rising water and swift currents. At that time, a brick Gothic Revival house was built northeast of the new bridge for the bridge’s toll keeper. Tolls were collected at the bridge until about 1890, and the tollhouse remains in its original location today. Following the collapse of a middle span of the iron bridge in 1925, construction of the current bridge crossing the Grand River at Argyle Street was completed in 1927.

The existing bridge is a 200 m long structure comprised of nine concrete bowstring arches, and is the longest of similar construction built in Ontario in the mid to late 1920s. The Bridge provides an elegant crossing of the 180 m wide river in an urban environment, and scenic viewing opportunities are available for the Grand River from sidewalks along both sides of the bridge.

In recognition of its importance within the community, its distinctive and graceful design, and its age and rarity as one of the few remaining concrete bowstring arch bridges in the province, the bridge is listed with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport as a Heritage Structure.

Design

In 2001, during a regular biennial inspection conducted by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), it was determined that the bridge was in a state of deterioration.

In 2002, the MTO initiated the Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to identify the Grand River Argyle Street Bridge Long-Term Strategy. The Preliminary Design study considered both rehabilitation and replacement alternatives in the development of the Long-Term Strategy. Through a comprehensive evaluation process, as well as public consultation and stakeholder input, the recommended Long-Term Strategy was identified to be replacement of the bridge.

A Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) was prepared to document the Preliminary Design and Class EA Study and the recommendation to replace the existing Argyle Street Bridge with a wider, 5-span, steel arch “signature” bridge. Provincial Class EA approval for the replacement of the Argyle Street Bridge was obtained in the Fall of 2009.

MMM Group Limited has been retained by the MTO to complete the Detailed Design and Class EA for the replacement of the Argyle Street Bridge over the Grand River in Caledonia. The study will build upon the recommendations presented in the 2009 TESR, and will be completed with the submission of a Design and Construction Report (DCR).

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Maintenance

In 1984, the bridge was rehabilitated with conventional concrete patch repairs to various structural members including the arch hangers and the floor and tie beams.

A short-term repair of the bridge was undertaken in 2008. This work repaired critical members of the bridge, including the arch hangers and tie girders, to extend the service life of the bridge, and provide time for the development of a long-term strategy for the Bridge.

MTO continues to inspect and monitor the bridge.