Acrow Bridge, a leading international bridge engineering and supply company, recently designed and supplied a modular steel bridge for a vital crossing point on a popular section of New Brunswick’s recreational trail network near the Village of Plaster Rock. Located at the northern end of the Appalachian Mountain Range, the region is a year-round destination for outdoor activities. With more than 8,000 kilometers of groomed trails across the province, snowmobiling is a vital part of the region’s economy.
In the spring of 2019, an ice jam in the Tobique River caused the adjoining and smaller Odell River to back up. As a result, large sections of ice pushed the existing bridge off of its foundations. As the bridge was on a snowmobile trail and critical for crossing the Odell River, the owners of the bridge, New Brunswick’s Department of Energy and Resources, decided it would be most expeditious and more economical in the longer term to remove the old structure completely, rebuild the foundations and install a new bridge.
A modular steel Acrow structure was selected for the project, and design engineers Hilcon Limited devised innovative foundations which allow the bridge to be lifted in the event of future backups, thereby preventing it from being pushed out of position. A key design feature of the new bridge are specially modified transoms, which allow for up and down movements, but not lateral movement, enabling the bridge to slide up the sides of the extended curtain walls in high water and slide back down when the water level has dropped.
The new bridge replacement is 21.3-meters-long (70-feet) and 3.7-meters-wide (12-feet) to accommodate two lanes of snowmobiles or one groomer. Manufactured from high-strength, high-quality steel and galvanized to eliminate corrosion, Acrow’s bridges are virtually maintenance-free over a service life of 75 to 100 years, or more.
The project began in October 2020 and was completed in only a few weeks, rapidly restoring the crossing for the snowmobilers just in time for the first snowfall of the year.
“Acrow’s modular components allowed for easy transport of the structure to the remote jobsite,” said Benoit Forget, P.Eng, business development manager Quebec/New Brunswick at Acrow Bridge. “The bridge was quickly assembled and launched with the timber deck, saving both time and money over other bridge types.”
Gordon Scott, P.Eng., director of operations and sales, Acrow Bridge, said, “With installations across the province since 1972, Acrow bridges have proven themselves as effective, permanent infrastructure solutions. Assembled in days or weeks, our cost-effective, durable solutions are built to withstand even the harshest elements.”