The Manitoulin Expositor is reporting that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is in the early stages of a plan to replace the historic swing bridge at Little Current, the only link between Manitoulin Island and the mainland.
The first step for the MTO is hiring a consultant to do an environmental assessment and preliminary design for a new bridge.
In the past two months, the ministry has gotten the ball rolling to find a consultant to complete a planning, preliminary design and environmental assessment study to replace the bridge.
The MTO notes that the preliminary design for a new bridge will include reviewing alternate locations and a variety of designs.
“The bridge is over 100 years old and is nearing the end of its service life,” said the MTO's Andrew Healy, environmental planner for the northeastern region.
“Being the main link between Manitoulin Island and the mainland, it is important that the ministry be proactive in developing plans for its eventual replacement. In the meantime, the ministry will continue to maintain the existing bridge.”
“The bridge replacement is not currently funded and there is no schedule for its replacement.”
Notices of public consultation and environmental assessment will be distributed in issues of the Manitoulin Expositor and by mail.
The environmental assessment study will be completed over the next few years and will be followed with detail design if construction is funded.
Construction on the bridge began in 1912 by the Algoma Eastern Railway to link Manitoulin with Goat Island and the mainland. The 368-foot bridge opened in 1913. It has been declared an Ontario Heritage Site.