Charlotte County residents rally to save McGuire covered bridge

Some Charlotte County residents are launching a campaign to make sure New Brunswick doesn’t lose another covered bridge.

Friends of McGuire Covered Bridge want 104-year-old bridge at Elmsville restored

The McGuire covered bridge at Elmsville, in Charlotte County, has been closed because of structural problems. (Friends of McGuire Covered Bridge )

Some Charlotte County residents are launching a campaign to make sure New Brunswick doesn't lose another covered bridge.

The residents are concerned that the McGuire covered bridge in Elmsville, near St. George, are worried it won't be restored after closing earlier this year.

Because of the recent history of covered bridges being replaced with new metals one, they said, they're launching a campaign to save theirs, which spans the Digdeguash River.

This August, the provincial government announced the 104-year-old Hammond River covered bridge would be taken down and replaced with a modular bridge.

Bridges as heritage items

Vern Faulkner, a member of the group Friends of McGuire Covered Bridge, said the group wants the provincial government to promise to make every effort to save their bridge, also 104 years old, from a similar fate.

"We simply don't want a small bit of damage to be used as an excuse to take away a bit of history and be replaced with a boring metal bridge," he said.

Faulkner said he's not sure precisely when the bridge was closed, since it was done quietly. But it was well-travelled by local people and seemed to be a tourist attraction to people outside the region, he said.

Because of their long history, covered bridges should be treated as items of heritage, rather than just modes of transportation, he said. 

Province working it  

Tanya Greer, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the department recognizes the bridge's importance to the community and  is working to restore the bridge as quickly as possible.

She said the department decided to close the bridge after a recent inspection found structural problems and "deficiencies." 

She added that covered bridges were not built to withstand the volume and weight of today's traffic since they were built 100 years ago.

With files from Shift