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Sewells Road Bridge – Toronto’s only suspension bridge

June 2020

Civil engineer Frank Barber has designed many unique bridges in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Perhaps the most unique bridge, for the Toronto area, is the Sewells Road Bridge; unique in that it’s the only suspension bridge in Toronto and one of the few found in Ontario.

The single lane Sewells Road Bridge, which carries both north and southbound traffic, spans over the Rouge River in Scarborough, the eastern suburb of Toronto. It’s also one of the shortest suspension bridges meant for vehicular traffic. Suspension bridges were generally used for the largest of spans; over wide rivers (the Ambassador Bridge, Windsor-Detroit), harbour outlets (Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco), or across valleys (the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, North America’s longest pedestrian bridge (680 feet) near Gatlingburg, Tennessee).

Built in 1912, in what was then Scarborough Township, features two single cables that holds up the 160-foot-long bridge, that has a load capacity of 5.5 short tons. The bridge deck is concrete, sitting about 13 feet above the river.

The bridge is still in use by vehicular traffic today. It underwent a thorough with restoration in 1981, with portions of the bridge, like the original stiffening trusses, being removed and replaced.

Another unique Toronto bridge, the Old Finch Avenue Bailey Bridge, can be found nearby.

Other bridges designed by Fran Barber:

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewells_Road_Bridge, https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=ontario/sewellsbridge, https://www.gatlinburgskylift.com/skybridge.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/sewells-road-bridge-torontos-only-suspension-bridge/

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