Hartland Covered Bridge

The Hartland Covered Bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, is the world's longest covered bridge,[3] at 1,282 feet (391 m) long. It crosses the Saint John River from Hartland to Somerville, New Brunswick, Canada. The framework consists of seven small Howe Truss bridges joined together on six piers.[4]

Hartland Covered Bridge
Hartland covered bridge 2008.jpg
Hartland Bridge, from the Somerville side looking back toward Hartland.
Coordinates46°17′48″N 67°31′49″W / 46.29667°N 67.53028°W / 46.29667; -67.53028Coordinates: 46°17′48″N 67°31′49″W / 46.29667°N 67.53028°W / 46.29667; -67.53028
CrossesSaint John River
LocaleHartland-Somerville, New Brunswick
DesignHowe truss covered bridge[1]
MaterialConcrete (piers)
wood (truss)[1]
Total length1,282 feet (391 m)[2]
No. of spans7
Piers in water5
Load limit10 tonnes
(9.8 long tons; 11 short tons)
Construction start1898
Construction endMay 14, 1901
Construction cost$33,000
OpenedMay 13, 1901 (1901-05-13)
InauguratedJuly 4, 1901
ReplacesHartland ferry, Ice bridge
Official nameHartland Covered Bridge National Historic Site of Canada
TypeProvincial Heritage Place


Hartland Bridge when it opened on July 4, 1901.
Hartland Covered Bridge

Before the bridge, the only way to cross the Saint John River was by ferry. Plans and specifications of the bridge began in 1898 and the bridge was constructed in 1901 by the Hartland Bridge Company. On May 13, 1901, Dr. Estey was the first person to cross the bridge before its scheduled opening, because he had to respond to an emergency call. Workers placed planks on the bridge so he could drive across the bridge. It was finally inaugurated by Justice McKeowan on July 4, 1901 before a crowd of 2,000 people. It was funded by tolls[5] until it was purchased by the provincial government on May 1, 1906. The bridge was not originally built covered.[1]

A fire in 1907 burnt some of the structure and nearly destroyed the toll house.[6] The tolls had been removed earlier that year.[7]

On April 6, 1920, two spans of the bridge collapsed due to river ice. The bridge reopened in 1922 after construction to repair the structure, at which time the bridge was also covered, despite some local opposition.[2][8] The wooden piers were also converted to concrete.

A pedestrian walkway was added to the bridge in 1945. In 1966, vandals attempted to burn the bridge down.[9] In 1970, heavy trucks were barred from crossing the bridge.[10] The bridge was declared a National Historic Site in 1980,[3] and a Provincial Historic Site in 1999.[11]

In 1982, the bridge was again closed for repairs after a car struck a steel beam, causing part of the bridge to drop. The bridge was reopened to traffic on February 10, 1983.

In 2006, the town of Hartland contributed a small piece of wood from the bridge to the Six String Nation project. Part of this material now serves as one of the reinforcing strips on the interior of Voyageur, the guitar at the heart of the project.[12]

In the winter of 2007, the bridge was closed due to the central beam splitting down the middle. It has since been reopened after repairs were carried out.

On July 4, 2012, in honour of its 111th anniversary, it was celebrated with a Google Doodle on Google's Canadian homepage.[13]


When the bridge was mostly used by horse and wagon, couples would stop half-way across to share a kiss. The first wedding on the bridge was celebrated in September 1992 between Charmaine Laffoley and Dana Hunt from Toronto. It is thought by some locals to be good luck to hold one's breath the entire way across while driving.



The bridge is situated in Southeastern Canada, in the western part of New Brunswick, between the municipality of Hartland to the east and the local service district of Somerville, in Carleton County, New Brunswick. Oriented west-southwest to east-northeast, it is used by a small route connecting New Brunswick routes 103 and 105 that crosses the Saint John River just south of the island of Middle Becaguimec.

Since the construction of the Hugh John Flemming Bridge in 1960[14] used by New Brunswick Route 130 one kilometre to the north, the Hartland bridge is now used exclusively for local and tourist traffic.


The Hartland Bridge has a length of 390.75 metres (1,282.0 ft), which makes it the longest covered bridge in the world.[15][2][16][17][18] It is also the longest covered bridge ever constructed in Canada, the second-longest being a 377 metres (1,237 ft) long bridge on the Batiscan river in Quebec, in use between 1844 and 1870.[19] On the other hand, several other, longer, covered bridges have existed in the past elsewhere in the world, notably the Columbia–Wrightsville Bridge in Pennsylvania, constructed in 1814 and measuring 1,524 metres (5,000 ft) in length, crossing the Susquehanna River until its destruction in 1863 during the American Civil War.

The Hartland Bridge has only one lane[20] and only permits passage to vehicles having a mass lower than 10 tonnes and a height lower than 4.20 metres (13.8 ft).[2] A small gallery, also covered and permitting access to pedestrians, is attached on the South side of the bridge.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Hartland Bridge at Structurae
  2. ^ a b c d "The "Bridge"". Town of Hartland. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b Hartland Covered Bridge National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
  4. ^ Kennedy, Doris E. (2009). "Brief history". Hidden History of Hartland. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-9813773-0-8.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Press Newspaper. May 20, 1901. Retrieved 28 March 2011. The new Hartland bridge is open for traffic and there is great rejoicing on the banks of the Guimic. It is a fine structure and has received the official approval of Mr. A. R. Wetmore the government engineer. The toll keeper is James Pearson, the toll is 12 cts double, 6 cents single team, and 3 cents passenger, and $12 was taken in the first day of traffic.
  6. ^ "Hartland Fire". The Carleton Sentinel. July 19, 1907. in Kennedy, Doris E. (2009). "The Fire Monday July 15, 1907". Hidden History of Hartland. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-9813773-0-8.
  7. ^ "Hartland Bridge Tolls Taken Off". The Daily Gleaner. March 7, 1907. p. 1.
  8. ^ "Hartland Bridge". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Attempt to Burn Hartland Covered Bridge". The Observer. October 27, 1966.
  10. ^ "Heavy Trucks Banned". The Ottawa Journal. 8 Apr 1970. p. 47. Retrieved 25 December 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Hartland Covered Bridge. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  12. ^ Jowi., Taylor (2009). Six string nation : 64 pieces, 6 strings, 1 Canada, 1 guitar. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 9781553653936. OCLC 302060380.
  13. ^ Hartland covered bridge in New Brunswick celebrated in today’s Google Doodle, National Post, July 4, 2012
  14. ^ Nicolas Janberg. "Hugh John Flemming Bridge". Structurae. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  15. ^ "Ponts couverts - Comté de Carleton". www.gnb.ca (in French). Ministère des Transports du Nouveau-Brunswick. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  16. ^ "Lieu historique national du Canada du Pont-Couvert-de-Hartland". Lieux patrimoniaux du Canada (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Pont couvert de Hartland". Lieux patrimoniaux du Canada (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  18. ^ Clusiau 2000, p. 83
  19. ^ Arbour, Gérald; Caron, Fernand; Lefrançois, Jean (2005). Les ponts couverts du Québec (in French). Les publications du Québec. chapter 21. ISBN 978-2-551-19636-4.
  20. ^ Clusiau 2000, p. 85

External linksEdit