Rebuilt wood infrastructure brings environmental benefits
By Adam FreillBridges Green Construction Infrastructure
Ontario bridge project received funding support through Natural Resources Canada's Green Construction through Wood program.
When the Duchesnay Creek Bridge, which connects the City of North Bay and the Nipissing First Nation in Ontario, was rebuilt last year, the new bridge was designed to maintain the original timber style of the old bridge while bringing some environmental, as well as aesthetic, benefits to the communities.
Built through a limited partnership of Nipissing First Nation and Miller Paving, the project received funding support from the Canadian and provincial governments, including from Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) program. GCWood encourages the use of wood in non-traditional construction projects such as tall and low-rise non-residential buildings and bridges. It aims to position Canada as a world leader in innovative timber construction systems and technologies and in the low-carbon economy. NRCan expects the high-visibility project to help promote the use of mass timber in highway bridges across Canada.
In addition to providing employment and training opportunities for the community, the use of wood for the project is expected to result in a total carbon benefit of 991 metric tonnes of CO2; equivalent to taking over 190 cars off the road for a full year.
“There is no solution to climate change that does not involve our forests,” explained Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources as he outlined the funding from the Canadian government earlier this week. “Creating new markets for Canadian timber supports our forestry workers, creates jobs and gets us to net zero. By supporting the use of wood in construction, we are taking action to protect our planet and support our communities.”
“We were pleased to partner in this project to demonstrate that infrastructure can be built in new and innovative ways,” added Chief Scott McLeod of Nipissing First Nation. “Not only were we successful in building a beautiful bridge that improved pedestrian safety for our members, but we also demonstrated that First Nations can lead and manage projects on this scale. We are so pleased that this bridge was built using wood and put together by our people, piece by piece, with our partners at Miller Paving.”