The original bridging of the Gut area was done in 1896, to accommodate the expansion of the railway, from Port aux Basques to St. John’s. The bridge, which was constructed of wood, was washed out and had to be rebuilt in 1898.
In the 1940′s a new steel bridge was completed, which allowed for the passage of trains as well as a side piece for vehicle traffic.
Many residents in Stephenville Crossing, as well as St. Georges, have fond memories of their trips across the bridge. The structure seemed massive to children, who always loved the sound the tires made as they passed over the sheeting of the bridge.
In the late 1980′s a new steel and concrete bridge was constructed near the old bridge and traffic across the old bridge ceased.
On summer days, you can often see people fishing from the bridge, children swimming nearby and of course bird watchers and photographers who love the view of St. Georges River and the Atlantic Ocean, both of which are visible from the bridge. During Spring and Fall migrations, large flocks of geese and ducks are seen and heard in the area. The old, paved, road to the Gut, which runs parallel to the new road, is a favorite of walkers and joggers.
For the residents of Stephenville Crossing the Gut Bridge was the only means they had to travel to areas West of the community, other than by boat, and for that reason it is looked upon fondly. The bridge stands as a reminder to the residents of a more prosperous time, when Stephenville Crossing was a hub of railway industry on the West Coast. The building of the railway and the subsequent work it provided helped the town to expand into the community it is today.
It is hoped that future generations will care for the bridge, to ensure that it stays in good repair and that tourists will have the opportunity to continue to visit this part of Stephenville Crossing’s history.
Our community album section has more photos of the different bridges that have been built at the Gut as well as some photos from the bridge.