Acrow builds temporary 112-metre-long river crossing in Bayfield, Ontario


Acrow Limited has erected a 112.6-metre-long temporary bridge across the Bayfield River to allow residents and visitors of Bayfield, Ontario to continue to  navigate the town.

The Bayfield River Bridge, a 70-metre, two-span deck truss bridge on Highway 21 was constructed in 1949. By 2017, it had reached the end of its lifespan and preliminary planning for a full replacement began. 

Highway 21 delivers access for local residents, as well as the region’s significant tourism industry. In order to avoid severing traffic, the approved project required the installation of a temporary bridge to provide an on-site detour for vehicles and pedestrians, while the replacement bridge was being rebuilt.

“In addition to the obvious safety benefits, detour bridges allow traffic to be maintained at full capacity and speed during construction, decreasing the impact on the travelling public and local businesses,” said Gordon Scott, director of operations and sales at Acrow Limited. “They also offer significant cost-savings by helping ensure a project stays on schedule – a key benefit for both contractors and government agencies alike.”

Acrow designed and provided a modular steel detour for the project consists of two 18.3 metre spans, and a third 76 metre span, for a total length of 112.6 metres, with a roadway width of 9.1 metres. 

The temporary bridge has a TL-4 guardrail system, a 1.5 metre cantilevered sidewalk, and features an anti-skid epoxy aggregate deck surface.

The long length and heavy weight of the main span created numerous challenges for the launch and erection of the bridge. Due to the minimal footprint available to assemble components on-site, the components were delivered in stages to accommodate installation. 

The bridge was erected on rollers, with additional rollers on top of the piers required for ease of erection and a safe launch. The bridge was then moved to its final position, lowered and set on both abutment and pier bearings to complete construction. 

Delivered to contractor Looby Construction in mid-February, the rental bridge was constructed in about four weeks and opened to traffic on April 13. 

It will remain in service for a minimum of 10 months while the replacement bridge is being built.

“The rental market has gained a strong foothold in the highway construction industry for its many benefits, and I will add to Mr. Scott’s words by writing that this Acrow Bridge will also provide significant regional trade benefits through the flow of commerce not being restricted,” said Acrow CEO Bill Killeen.

Acrow Limited is the Canadian branch of Acrow Bridge, which has served the transportation and construction industries for more than 60 years with a full line of modular steel bridging solutions for vehicle, rail, military and pedestrian use.