Original Structure: Built Circa 1860
The Whitevale Bridge is an extremely important landmark in the hamlet, as it links the east and west sides of Whitevale together. It is uncertain exactly how many bridges have crossed Duffins Creek in Whitevale, but there certainly have been a few.
By the year 1813, it is reported that a stagecoach line used to run up Brock Road and then west along what is now Whitevale Road toward Newmarket. However, there was likely no bridge crossing Duffins Creek at that time considering John Major didn’t settle the area until 1820. It has been written that the “first” bridge was located approximately 5m south of the current bridge location, but no detailed information can be found to substantiateon that claim.
The first written record of a bridge was circa 1860 when Henry Major, Donald McPhee, and Augustus Varo were appointed as Commissioners and given $200 to build a bridge across Duffins Creek.
The first visual evidence of a bridge crossing Duffins Creek in Whitevale comes from the 1877 County Atlas, which shows a truss bridge (pictured right #1).
The Whitevale Bridge was shattered in 1886 when the Whitevale Dam (north of the bridge on Duffins Creek)was not hughed properly and allowed an immense jam of ice to destroy the structure. As a result, a new bridge was constructed that same year by contractor Thos. Madden at a cost of $250.
Just before the turn of the century, a steel truss bridge with a timber deck was built. This new Warren truss steel bridge spanned nearly 50 feet allowing for a wider creek bed. The bridge was built by the Hamilton Bridge Company.
The steel truss bridge was condemned and ordered to be dismantled in 1926, which gave way to a new bridge, an impressive 60-foot-span, reinforced concrete, bowstring bridge designed by County Engineer D.J Kean (pictured right #2). This bowstring bridge was destroyed by a tremendous flood in 1929 (pictured right #3), and some of the remains of that bridge can still be seen today in the creek on the southwest side of the bridge.
In 1929, a two- span T-beam bridge with a total span length of 102.5 feet was built to replace the bowstring bridge (pictured right #4). Designed by Margison & Babcock Consulting Engineers, the even longer span of the bridge was meant to reduce the risk of flood damage from the creek, however, flooding still managed to damage the structure. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel washed out the approaches to the bridge, although not the entire structure. Just over half a century later, in 2008, a heavy rainfall left minor damage to parts of the bridge. This was by far the longest lasting bridge, but it was ultimately replaced in 2014 due to safety concerns.
The current bridge, built in 2014, is a two-span CPCI girder structure with a total span length of 36 metres (nearly 120 feet). This structure is the largest structure yet to unite the hamlet of Whitevale.
A permanent display has been added to the Whitevale Park outlining the history of past bridges and featuring remnants of the 1926 and 1929 structures (pictured right #5).
The Whitevale Bridge was left to deteriorate to the point where it required full replacement. The bridge was replaced in 2014; the new bridge is longer and wider than the existing structure.
Whitevale Bridge in the news:
Whitevale residents raise concerns following early bridge closure January 21, 2014
Safety concerns close Pickering's Whitevale bridge January 17, 2014
Pickering says pedestrian bridge in Whitevale too pricey December 12, 2013
Update on temporary pedestrian bridge in Whitevale expected soon November 29, 2013
Temporary bridge in Whitevale the least Pickering can do November 28, 2013
Whitevale bridge project to go ahead November 9, 2012
Whitevale bridge project to go ahead February 22, 2012
Whitevale residents oppose bridge plans February 21, 2012
Replacement of Whitevale Bridge - STUDY COMPLETION January 4, 2012
Whitevale residents fight for Pickering hamlet May 04, 2011