Nova Scotia Archives

16 February 2017
Board Landing Bridge

Board Landing Bridge

I remember, as a child, walking down Tidal Bore Road, climbing over the guardrail and sitting on the edge of the road to dangle my feet where a bridge once was, watching the tide come in from the Bay of Fundy. We would measure the tide by watching it rise up the old bridge footing.

Last week I found a set of photographs of that old bridge.

The Board Landing Bridge connected Onslow to Lower Truro, near the former Palliser Motel. 

A bridge was first erected in this location in 1855-56 to create a shortcut for the mail route between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Upper and Lower Canada. A resolution put forward in the Journals of the House of Assembly (1854-1855) stated that the construction of a bridge across the bay at Board Landing was considered to be “of great local as well as provincial importance.” The bridge replaced a ferry service (actually, a large canoe) that had transported people and goods across the Salmon River since 1773.

This set of 23 photographs, dated from 1909 to 1954, show the same steel truss bridge with three spans. They were taken by Department of Highways staff to document the condition of the bridge and any repair work needed.

The most dramatic of the photographs document an accident on Tuesday, August 10th, 1954. The next day the Truro Daily News reported:

“According to the police report, a large tractor trailer […] entered the bridge heading toward Truro. The small truck containing four people was approaching from the other direction. As the two vehicles met, the [tractor trailer] apparently slipped its moorings and crashed into the side of the bridge […]. Some moments elapsed then the entire bridge span gave way dropping into the river and carrying the small truck with it.”

Fortunately, the four occupants (including an eight month old baby) survived the accident without serious injuries. It was reported as “nothing short of a miracle.” The collapsed steel span was replaced just a few days later with two wooden spans made of creosoted timber.

The Board Landing Bridge closed permanently in 1970 when it was replaced by the bridge on Highway 102. All that remains of the bridge are two footings on each side of the Salmon River on Tidal Bore Road. The location is still an excellent spot to watch the tidal bore.

These photographs are found in the Department of Highways Roads and Bridges photographs, among more than 12000 others that document the conditions of roads and bridges across the province. It’s a fascinating collection. Look at the file listing and I’m sure you’ll find a road or bridge near you. 


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