Nipissing First Nation timber bridge recognized for design excellence

The new Duchesnay Creek Bridge on Highway 17B at Nipissing First Nation continues to garner accolades.

Representatives from Wood WORKS! Ontario were in North Bay to deliver to the bridge project owners the Northern Ontario Excellence Award for Wood Design on Dec. 2.

Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota presented the award to Chief Scott McLeod and to Matt Curry and Anthony Akomah, representatives from the Ministry of Transportation at the Elders’ Hall at the Union of Ontario Indians.

Wood WORKS! is a national program of the Canadian Wood Council that promotes the use of wood in the construction sector and in the design community. Its wood design award program recognize innovative people and organizations involved in advancing wood on all types of construction.

The $12-million bridge opened for traffic in August 2021. It replaced an older span which was closed in January 2019 due to structure concerns. 

The new 83-metre-long structure features a timber main span, the only one of its kind in Ontario. This choice was made during the design phase to pay homage to the original structure. The bridge consists of a three-span glued laminated (glulam) girder bridge with arched glulam braces at the piers. 

The bridge project construction itself involved a joint venture team involving Miller Paving and members from Nipissing First Nation. 

“The Duchesnay Creek Bridge Replacement is a prime example of innovative engineering and commitment to the environment using renewable wood in the bridge’s construction, and respecting the historical, cultural and architectural
importance of the existing structure,” said Rota in a statement.

There is significant transformation happening in the construction industry today,” said Steven Street, executive director of the Wood WORKS! program in Ontario. 

“New products and technologies, advanced codes, and a greater focus on reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment have led to a resurgence in wood construction. Nevertheless, timber bridges are still uncommon, so it is
exciting to have an opportunity to celebrate culturally and architecturally significant projects like the Duchesnay Creek Bridge,” he said.

“The Duchesnay Creek Bridge project is a great example of both the amazing local expertise in environmentally-friendly wood engineering, and of partnership and collaboration.” said Patty Hajdu, minister of Indigenous services.