Little Current Swing Bridge
The Little Current Swing Bridge is a swing bridge in the Canadian province of Ontario, located at the community of Little Current in the town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands. The bridge carries Highway 6 (formerly Highway 68) across a narrow channel separating Manitoulin Island from the much smaller Goat Island, forming the only land access. It consists of two 21 m (70 ft) deck plate girder approaches on the north end (Goat Island) and a single 18 m (60 ft) deck plate girder approach on the south end (Manitoulin Island), with a 112 m (368 ft) through swing bridge span. The swing bridge sits 5.3 m (17.5 ft) above mean water level, and provides a 48 m (160 ft) opening on either side of the central pier for water passage. Construction on the bridge foundations was commenced in 1912 by the Algoma Eastern Railway, and the bridge itself was constructed in 1913. Originally a railway-only bridge, the bridge stayed in the open position at all times except when a train needed to pass. Passenger traffic to the island was available only by ferry until 1946, when the bridge was improved to allow both rail and vehicle traffic. Train service to the island was subsequently truncated in the 1980s, with railway service ending at Turner on the Goat Island side, and the bridge now serves only vehicle traffic. The bridge now strongly favours highway traffic, staying in the closed (motor vehicles can pass) position at all times, except for the first fifteen minutes of each daylight hour during the summer, when it opens to permit boating traffic. At night and when the shipping channel is closed during the winter, the bridge stays in the closed position at all times. Originally powered by a gasoline engine, the mechanism was upgraded to electric motors in 2003. Due to the single vehicle lane, it is equipped with traffic signals, the only installation of such on Manitoulin Island. From mid-October to early May when the ferry MS Chi-Cheemaun is not in operation to carry passengers from the Bruce Peninsula, the bridge is the only road link to Manitoulin Island. The bridge has been designated an Ontario Heritage site.