Given its location alongside NB Route 114 between Moncton, Hopewell Rocks, and Fundy National Park, the Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge is one of the more recognizable covered bridges in Albert County, New Brunswick, and possibly the entire province. Located on the Sawmill Creek near Hopewell Hill, the Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge is built in a Howe truss design which is common for many covered bridges found throughout New Brunswick. The covered bridge is 105 feet (33 meters) long and sits in a roadside park, serving only pedestrian, bicycle, and horse traffic.
In my research, I've found two competing dates of the Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge, 1905 and 1908. But the bridge's history precedes either of those years. On October 4, 1869, the Saxby Gale was a powerful storm where the combined forces of wind and high tides destroyed homes and killed people and livestock along the Bay of Fundy in both New Brunswick and neighboring Nova Scotia. As a result of the Saxby Gale, the old bridge over Sawmill Creek fell apart.
The bridge was rebuilt as a covered bridge and was for years part of the highway now known as NB 114. Historical records point towards the current Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge to have been built in 1908 by A.E. Smye of Alma, New Brunswick. The contract for the bridge's construction was signed on September 25, 1907 for a sum of over $3,000 and construction went underway at once. The bridge was built quickly, as the flooring for the bridge was completed on New Year's Day 1908 and the bridge opened up for traffic. However, the roof of the covered bridge was not completed until the spring of 1908.
When a concrete bridge was planned to replace the covered bridge in 1975 to accommodate increased traffic and weight loads, Albert County Heritage Trust persuaded the government not to demolish the covered bridge. Instead, the bridge was saved and moved slightly downstream, allowing both the new parallel bridge and the covered bridge to peacefully coexist. Today, the bridge serves as a reminder of the history of Albert County. The Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge is part of the Trans-Canada Trail as well, allowing people to enjoy recreational activities across Canada. My visit to the bridge was in early May 2022, soon after repairs were made to the bridge in 2021.
|Close to the covered bridge, there is a guest ranch that offers trail rides across the bridge, so this sign on the east side of the bridge is appropriate in modern times and as a nod to history.|
|Plaque indicating the 1905 date for the Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge.|
|A look into the bridge portal. The NB Route 114 bridge over Sawmill Creek is just to the west.|
How to Get There:
Sources and Links:
Tourism New Brunswick - Sawmill Creek No. 0.5 Covered Bridge
Historical Marker Database - Sawmill Creek Bridge/Le Pont Sawmill Creek
Connecting Albert County - Major Repairs to Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge
GalenFrysinger.com - Sawmill Creek Covered Bridge
New Brunswick's Covered Bridges - Sawmill Creek No. 5
DaleJTravis.com - New Brunswick Covered Bridges List