BYE BYE BRIDGE (FOR NOW)

The London Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - LON­DON FREE PRESS

It’s not good­bye, it’s see you later for Lon­don’s leg­endary Black­fri­ars Bridge.

The iconic struc­ture will be re­moved Thurs­day from its long­time home west of down­town as part of city hall’s plan to have it re­paired off-site be­fore be­ing re­turned to pub­lic use.

The re­moval will hap­pen at 9 a.m. City of­fi­cials an­nounced a “send­off event” to be held at that time at the bridge.

City hall says it will be back at its spot span­ning the Thames River, con­nect­ing Rid­out and Black­fri­ars streets, in about a year.

The bridge, built in 1875 for a cost of $14,711, is the old­est work­ing bridge in On­tario — and among the old­est in Canada. It was de­clared a her­itage struc­ture in 1992. But the struc­ture has needed fre­quent re­pairs in re­cent years, of­ten shut­ting it down to ve­hi­cle traf­fic.

City staff es­ti­mated in 2016 that re­pair­ing Black­fri­ars would cost $4 mil­lion. But when politi­cians were asked in the sum­mer to ap­prove the project, the tab had jumped to $8.6 mil­lion based on new in­for­ma­tion, staff said.

The bridge’s bow­string arch de­sign, made of wrought iron, has made it an iconic part of Lon­don’s land­scape. As an ex­am­ple, it’s the logo for Lon­don na­tive Paul Hag­gis’s Hol­ly­wood Pro­duc­tion com­pany, Black­fri­ars Bridge Films.

MIKE HENSEN/THE

Steel beams that sup­port the deck of Black­fri­ars Bridge are be­ing re­moved be­fore the iconic Lon­don struc­ture is taken away for re­pairs. It will be re­moved Thurs­day from its long­time home west of down­town as part of city hall’s plan to have it re­paired off-site be­fore be­ing re­turned to pub­lic use in about a year. For de­tails, see

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