Main Street Bridge
Address: East Main St.
By-law Number: 1994-10332
Reason for Designation
Bridge 13, known as the Main Street Bridge, was built in 1927-1930 during the construction of the Fourth Welland Canal (1913-1933). This bridge was one of the three largest vertical lift bridges on the canal with a roadway width of 30 feet, girder width of 34.5 feet and a length of 231 feet 5 5/8 inches. It was also the most expensive, costing $986,363.
The Main Street Bridge’s design is unique in that its towers are set at an angle to both the waterway and the connecting roadways. The bridge is significantly skew in terms of its angle to the waterway, being set at an angle of 22 degrees, 24 minutes and 30 seconds off the normal 90 degree angle. No other canal bridges were more than 12 degrees off square.
The superstructure is composed of two towers with main columns in box form and a central lifting span. The machinery house in the centre of the lifting span has two storeys and once contained the lifting apparatus. The main contract for the superstructure was awarded to the Dominion Bridge Company of Lachine, Quebec. This company is still in business. A local firm, Maguire, Cameron and Phin, were hired as sub-contractors for all of the concrete work. This company remained in business in Welland until the 1970’s.
The bridge is one of only two structures in Welland to have been built almost entirely by members of the First Nation. All of the structural high steel was done by the Mohawks.
From its beginnings, the Main Street Bridge affected the lives of Welland’s inhabitants. It was the only link between the east and west portions of downtown Welland. Its height and central location makes the bridge a dominant element in the downtown core. It has always been the most recognizable landmark identified with the City as a whole.