Bridge No. 7 Rehabilitation

Planning, Design, and Construction Oversight Services

Preserving a unique bowstring arch bridge traversing the Grand River.



Township of East Garafraxa


Township of East Garafraxa, Ontario

Key Team Members

Stephen Riley, P.Eng.

Chris Knechtel, P.Eng.

Matthew Brooks, P.Eng.

Project Story

The East Garafraxa Bridge No.7 sets itself apart as unique and it is the only skewed, off-set twin concrete bowstring arch bridge along the river. Its unique character, style, and aesthetic are a testament to the early settlement of the area and the balance of form and function that was once commonplace in Ontario bridge construction. The Township of East Garafraxa committed to preserving its heritage by rehabilitating this unique structure rather than replacing it.

The Township objectives for this important bridge rehabilitation project were to preserve the bridge’s heritage and aesthetic, improve load capacity, and maximize durability. Burnside was retained to achieve these objectives and provided full project planning, design, and construction oversight services for the scope of work. At all points along the project, we ensured that modern day practices, materials, and technology were employed to preserve an important link with the Township’s past and maintain it for the future.

We evaluated the existing structure, replaced the concrete deck, strengthened the floor beams and re-established the barriers, arches, and upper portions of its abutments and central pier. Using a composite timber-concrete deck allowed us to reduce dead load on the bridge, which increased live load capacity. Implementing new advances in lightweight waterproofing and water-resistant coating technologies, we were able to further reduce dead load, protect repaired components, increase the durability of the repairs, and refresh the bridge’s overall appearance.

Using sophisticated analysis and design tools, along with our structural expertise, modifications were made to the design to suit actual field conditions without delaying the project or significantly increasing costs. The ability to adapt and modify the design on the fly was both challenging and rewarding, and ensured the Township received the maximum benefit for the funds expended.

Testimonial - Stephen Riley

Burnside Testimonial

The most successful aspect of the project was the preservation of a unique cultural heritage feature at a time when most structures of this vintage are being removed out of convenience.   This project offered the opportunity to implement a unique rehabilitation of a truly unique structure, to ensure that a key piece of the Township’s cultural heritage was preserved for the future.

Stephen Riley Burnside Regional Manager, Georgian Bay | Project Manager
Stephen Riley Headshot

Stephen Riley, P.Eng.

Regional Manager, Georgian Bay

Project Contact

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