An 87-year-old covered bridge was swept down the Canaan River near Coles Island on Wednesday by the powerful flood waters.

Residents gathered by the side of the river to watch the Cherryvale covered bridge, which was built in 1927, float away.

Many of the residents reflected on the impact of the covered bridge’s loss to their community.

Cherryvale bridge

Eleanor Guillemette took this picture of the Cherryvale Covered Bridge before it was swept away by the Canaan River. (Courtesy Eleanor Guillemette)

“It's a sad day for our community. Very sad because as we know, as every one of these covered bridges leaves, there's never a covered bridge to replace it,” said Perry Black.

Dwight Paterson said the bridge was taken from the area so quickly.

“It's been around here for 80 years, she's gone in an instant,” said Dwight Paterson.

“Nothing you can do. Just watch her go by. She'll find her resting place, somewhere.”

The bridge did finally find a resting space, roughly two hours later.

The old covered bridge was wedged under a new bridge on the Canaan River, caught by an abutment.

Covered bridge floats away

An 87-year-old covered bridge was swept down the Canaan River near Coles Island on Wednesday by the powerful flood waters. (CBC)

A piece of history lost, but also a loss with immediate consequences for people living in the area who relied on the bridge.

The people who lived across the river are now cut-off.

“We have some elderly people over there, and we're worried about access,” Black said.

“Our only access will be from on the Havelock Road coming in, and that's a dirt road through there and obviously with all the rain has made it pretty severe on that road too.”

Many communities in western and southern New Brunswick were flooded on Wednesday. 

Sussex Corner declared a state of emergency because of the flood on Wednesday morning. The water has flooded basements, submerged an RV dealership and forced the closure of several roads in Sussex and Sussex Corner.