Issued: June 05, 2020

SMITHS FALLS, ONTARIO, June 5, 2020 – Parks Canada advises that a decrease in the load capacity of the Lower Brewers Swing Bridge, from the current posted 10 tons to 3 tons, will be in effect as of June 15, 2020. This bridge is part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and is located west of Highway 15 approximately 22 km north of Kingston.

In order to ensure the safety of residents and visitors and as part of Parks Canada’s maintenance operations, all Rideau Canal bridges are inspected each year, with a comprehensive inspection taking place every five years. The most recent comprehensive inspection of the Lower Brewers Swing Bridge determined further investigation was merited to ensure the current posted weight limit for the bridge was safe.

Through the Federal Infrastructure Investment Program, an in-depth analysis was conducted to assess the condition of the bridge based on the current Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code. While designed and built in 1984 to meet standards of that time for 10-ton capacity, the recent analysis concluded that the weight limit of 10 tons exceeds its capacity.

The structural deterioration associated with the age of the bridge further decreases its ability to manage this higher capacity.

Public safety is a priority for Parks Canada. The load capacity will be decreased for the Lower Brewers swing bridge to adhere to today’s design guidelines. Effective June 15, 2020, vehicles such as larger emergency vehicles and school busses, will no longer be permitted to cross this bridge until it has been replaced. Parks Canada is working closely with local municipalities to ensure minimal disruption to these essential public services.

Design work for the Lower Brewers Swing Bridge is currently underway and has been designated for replacement in 2021. This capacity decrease will remain in effect until replacement occurs. Associated signage will be modified and improved traffic calming measures will be implemented where appropriate and necessary.

The recent analysis and future replacement of the Lower Brewers Swing Bridge is part of the Government of Canada’s Federal Infrastructure Investment program. Parks Canada is leading this important infrastructure work to ensure safe, high-quality experiences for visitors by improving heritage, visitor, waterway, and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas, including along the Rideau Canal National Historic Site.