Ontario replacing Little Current Swing Bridge to Manitoulin Island

swing bridge

Planning, preliminary design and environmental assessment have been completed for the replacement of the Little Current Swing Bridge on Highway 6 in the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands. The project will now proceed with the next steps – property acquisition, right-of-way designation, and detail design.

The project was delayed due to the pandemic. In March 2021, after years of study and research, the Ministry of Transportation selected a preferred design, a through truss swing bridge, with double lanes.

“To keep people and goods moving safely and efficiently, our government is making targeted investments in highways, roads, and bridges to strengthen and expand our province’s transportation network,” said Greg Rickford, minister of Northern Development.

“Replacement of the Little Current Swing Bridge will make travel smoother for residents, businesses, emergency services and tourists, while supporting economic growth and job creation in local communities.”

The existing swing bridge, one of the only swing bridges in Canada, has been designated an Ontario Heritage site. It is about 110 years old and nearing the end of its service life. It serves as the only roadway access to Manitoulin Island. The replacement of the Little Current Swing Bridge will improve traffic operations and the crossing to and from the island for all drivers.

“The Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands is very pleased that the Ontario government is focused on moving this project forward,” said Alan MacNevin, Mayor, Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands. “While the current bridge represents our connection to our past, the new bridge will represent our connection to the future by enhancing traffic flow and supporting growth and development on the Island.”

The current bridge consists of two 70-foot deck plate girder approaches on the north end (Goat Island) and a single 60-foot deck plate girder approach on the south end (Manitoulin Island), with a 368-foot through swing bridge span.

The swing bridge sits 17.5 feet above the water, and provides a 160 foot opening on either side of the central pier for water passage.


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