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'Timber superstructure' in place over Duchesnay Creek as project nears completion

Timber bridge components have been incorporated to commemorate the Duchesnay Creek Bridge and its designation as a heritage structure

An important transportation link between North Bay, Nipissing First Nation and Highway 17 west of the city will reopen for traffic by the end of the year. 

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario confirms the construction of the new Duchesnay Creek Bridge is nearing completion. 

"It is anticipated that the entirety of the project, which includes completion of the new bridge, resurfacing of approximately one kilometre of Highway 17B, and the removal of the former overhead bridge will be completed in late 2021."

Updating the progress of the construction partnership between Miller Paving and Nipissing First Nation, the MTO says the "timber superstructure below the bridge deck is now complete," as are "the final phases of the concrete bridge deck installation." 

See related: New partnership built through historical bridge project 

The former Duchesnay Creek Bridge was frequently inspected by structural engineers in late-2018 and was permanently closed by the MTO after inspections in January 2019 revealed structural flaws. It was the last remaining timber deck truss bridge on Ontario’s provincial highway network and was more than 80 years old when it was forced out of use in 2019.

"A unique feature of this bridge is the use of glue-laminated timbers in the construction," according to the MTO. "The use of timber bridge components is one of the elements that is being incorporated to commemorate the history of this designated heritage structure."

The bridge is located on Highway 17B, between downtown North Bay and Couchie Memorial Drive, cutting off direct access. A shuttle service for those affected by the disruption in traffic has been in operation throughout the construction period.

The province has contributed $12 million to the project that was expected to take at least two years to complete from the outset. The scope of the work includes a new entrance from the road to access Duchesnay Village and the removal of the nearby CN Rail overpass plus paving and shaving to mitigate poor sightlines along 17B.