BAYFIELD, ONT. -- Interested Bayfield residents came out to watch history being made Thursday morning.

"It’s kind of exciting for us here in Bayfield. It’s the start of what everyone really wanted to see about what the bridge is going to look like. The arches, really are a significant portion of it, really representing the bridge from a visual aspect," says Bayfield Councillor Bill Whetstone. 

The bridge on Highway 21, spanning the Bayfield River and overlooking the town’s marina on the north edge of the shoreline town, was due for replacement in 2017. But replacement work just began last year, and could last for several more months, as delays have put the project behind schedule. 

But, this is what everyone has been waiting for, the installation of the iconic arches. The first arch was installed on Tuesday, and the installation of the second arch has folks in and around town pretty excited. 

"This bridge is really important from the municipality’s standpoint, not just Bayfield but Bluewater. It’s one of our gateways coming into our communities, and you want it to be something special, that everyone can attest to, something to remember when you go past it, instead of just driving over another bridge. So, this is going to be a staple of Bayfield and Bluewater for years to come," says Whetstone. 

Bayfield Bridge
People watch as cranes lift new arches in Bayfield, Ont. on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (Scott Miller / CTV News)

The bridge was overdue for replacement, having been built back in 1949. 

"It’s great timing, I think, with COVID-19 going on. It's progression, seeing positive movement going forward, so hopefully this will help people to have something to look forward to," says Whetstone. 

A section of Highway 21 was closed for the arch installation Thursday, but will be open to traffic again by Thursday night.

Whenever it’s fully complete, Whetstone hopes to have some sort of celebration, to mark an important addition to Bayfield, and the area. 

"I’d love to see it almost like a relaunch of Bayfield, at the same time as the bridge reopens, to start promoting Bayfield again, after COVID," he says.