The Hartland Bridge (Hartland, New Brunswick)

Hartland Bridge
Photo by Dennis Jarvis 

At 1,282 feet (391m) long, the Hartland Bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, is the world’s longest covered bridge. Crossing the Saint John River from Somerville to Hartland, the bridge has served the communities since 1901. Before the Hartland Bridge was built, the Saint John river was only passable by ferry. Since there were always problems with horses and the ferry, planning for the much needed bridge began in 1898 with the Hartland Bridge Company finishing the project in mid 1901. The bridge was opened to a decent crowd of 2,000 on the fourth of July in 1901.

Dr. Estey, a local physician was the first person to cross the bridge while responding to an emergency call. Workmen made it passable by placing planks across the trusses so he could make the crossing on On 13 May, 1901, before it was finished and before it officially opened to traffic.

Hartland Bridge Facts

  • A 1907 fire destroyed a large portion of the bridge and most of the toll house.
  • On 6 April, 1920, two spans of the bridge collapsed due to river ice. It took two years to reopen after serious renovations.
  • The Hartland Bridge was not originally covered and did not become so till the 1922 renovation.
  • The pedestrian walkway was added to the bridge in 1945.
  • In 1970, heavy trucks (an unforeseen  were barred from crossing the bridge.
  • The bridge was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980, and a Provincial Historic Site in 1999.
  • In 1982, the bridge was closed for repairs after a car struck a steel beam, but reopened to traffic on 10 February, 1983.
  • In the winter of 2007, the bridge was temporarily closed due to the central beam splitting down the middle.
  • On 4 July, 2012, in honour of its 111th anniversary, the Hartland Bridge was celebrated with a Google Doodle on Google’s Canadian homepage.