The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge
is situated in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
This former railway bridge crosses the Saint John River near the downtown area of Fredericton and is 581 metres (1,906 feet) long. It was built in 1936 to replace an earlier bridge which was damaged by ice and flood water in the spring of 1935. Rail transportation declined after the second world war and even more so in the 80s and 90s. Eventually, both CN (Canadian National) and the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) abandoned the rail lines that used the bridge. Locals saw the last train to cross it in 1996.
Eventually, the ownership of the bridge was transferred to the province of New Brunswick. Through federal and provincial funding, the bridge was then converted to pedestrian and cycling traffic.
Today the bridge is part of the Sentier NB Trail
which is part of the Trans Canada Trail
. It is used by fitness walkers as well as regular pedestrians that live and work on either side of the Saint John River.
The bridge was dedicated to Bill Thorpe
(1933-2006) in 2008 to honour his determination in establishing the Fredericton Trail Network. He was a teacher and school vice-principal as well as a sport enthusiast and also served on the Fredericton City Council. A plaque is on display at the northern end of the bridge.
In the distance, Fredericton's two other bridges can be seen. The Westmorland Street Bridge
is visible in the starting view of the panorama (upriver, to the West). The other one (downriver, to the East), the Princess Margaret Bridge
, was under repair (look for the protective tarpaulins) at the time this 360-degree panoramic image was captured.
Source: Historical data found on Wikipedia.org