Friday, December 18, 2009

Building a Bridge

I have previously written about the long and somewhat bizarre history of the building of the Annapolis Royal to Granville Ferry bridge. While I was going through some archival images earlier today, I noticed a small collection which showed how the spans of the bridge were floated into place. Since these were a rather interesting collection of images, I figured that I should gather them together in a post.

Ten years after ice piers had been placed at strategic locations across the Annapolis River construction on a bridge was begun. The engineers who were responsible for the planning of the bridge took full advantage of the tides in the Annapolis River. Since the Annapolis Basin is an offshoot of the Bay of Fundy, the Basin, as well as part of the Annapolis River, are subject to some very impressive tidal action. In Annapolis Royal we have an average tide of about 29 vertical feet (about 8.8 meters). Knowing this, a decision was made to float the bridge spans to the piers at high tide. As the tide receded, the bridge spans would gently come to rest on the ice piers where they could be fastened in place. The barges which had floated the span into place would then return to the shore to wait for the next tide when they would be able to move another span. When it was completed in 1921, the Annapolis River bridge was supposed to be the longest metal bridge in Canada east of Montreal.

All for now,


  1. wouldn't it be great to have that bridge again.It would be both pratical and could look quite striking. A nice easy walk across which would link the two disticts well.

  2. Hi Ryan,

    I just finished processing photographs of roads and bridges in Annapolis County and there was a file for the Annapolis Bridge, containing 73 images (showing the piers and the steel structure) similar to the ones you've shared here. If you're interested their reference code is: 1985-110, File 0003.

    Andrea @ NSARM