It has stood at the western edge of the city since 1929, a recognized engineering marvel of its era which, at its peak carried some 50 trains each day, both freight and passenger.

THE THIRD OF THREE BRIDGES

Canada Southern Railway Kettle Creek Bridge

First wooden trestle erected in 1872

The CSR single-track, timber-trestle over Kettle Creek at St. Thomas was completed in February, 1872. The trestle was made of framed timber, carried a single track, and was 28m (92 feet) high and 416 m (1,365 feet) long. It consisted of 14 Howe truss deck spans supported on timber bents. The longest span over Kettle Creek was 13.7 m (45 feet).

 

 

Michigan Central Railroad Kettle Creek Bridge

Metal double wide trestle built 1883

In 1883, the year after the CSR was leased to the MCR, the timber trestle was replaced with a double-tracked, metal structure 425 m (1,395 feet) long and 28.3m (93 feet) above the creek bed. The bridge deck was supported on metal trestle bents that formed towers 9.1 m (30 feet) long at their tops (in the direction of the rail). Between the towers was a clear span of 13.7 m (45 feet). The deck was constructed of plate girders which carried an unballasted track structure. The viaduct was the same length as the previous timber trestle. Although the bridge was double-tracked, trains travelling in opposite directions were prohibited from meeting each other on the structure.

Michigan Central Railroad Bridge

The design for a replacement structure over Kettle Creek was underway in 1928. The final planwas selected to involved minimal disturbance to rail traffic during the rebuilding. The general contract for the work was awarded on April 25, 1929. The entire project cost $689,000 (at the time). The entire work, except for field painting and the hand railings was completed on January 3, 1930. The steel was fabricated by the Canadian Bridge Company in Walkerville, Ontario.

As built, the structure consisted of 13 piers however, since the abutments were also counted as piers, the bridge was described as having 15 piers. The piers were constructed of concrete except for the centre one which was a steel-truss. The main, eight spans were 22.9 m (75 feet) and provided a clear span of 18.3 m (60 feet) between the piers. The two piers at each end were shorter and less massive, being built on the slop of the earthworks. The main piers were approximately 27.4 m (90 feet) tall except for pier five which was located within Kettle Creek and was 33.2 m (109 feet).

(Taken from Heritage Impact Assessment by Golder Associates)