Duchesnay Creek bridge reopens after two year closure
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod cut the ribbon Friday morning, making the Duchesnay Creek bridge officially open for vehicle traffic.
After more than two years of detours and inconvenient travel for those wanting to access North Bay from Nipissing First Nation, Chief Scott McLeod says it’s a big milestone to have the bridge open again.
"There’s been a lot of anticipation to get this bridge reopened. Not just from my community, but from the North Bay community," McLeod said.
“People are happy that they can take their shortcut in, and for our businesses in the community, it means a lot, because the quick access to our retailers was basically stymied because the road changed directions.”
Nipissing First Nation partnered with Miller Paving for the construction of the project.
Officials with Miller Paving told CTV News the project cost $12 million and was fully funded by the provincial government.
"The project was delayed slightly due to the supply of the material," said Miller Paving President Francois Vachon.
"The bridge came from British Columbia, was transported to Quebec to get treated, was then shipped back to Washington state to get put together. So there was lots of moving parts because it’s a special bridge, and due to COVID(-19) there was some delay."
The first Duchesnay Creek Bridge was built in 1937, but Chief McLeod said the history of the bridge goes back to the 1600s, as Indigenous peoples crossed the creek daily before there was a bridge.
"This is the first big opportunity that my community has had with the province of Ontario to show the type of work we can do," he said.
It is now the only timber laminated bridge in Ontario and has received designation as a heritage structure from the province.
"I’ve often told our neighbouring politicians when Nipissing First Nation does good, the surrounding area does good," McLeod said.
The bridge will only be open for a brief period.
It is expected to be closed intermittently come September when construction crews continue work on stage two and stage three of the project.