Blackfriars Bridge re-opened officially Saturday to much fanfare, including a parade across the historic structure.

Hundreds were on hand to see the events surrounding the opening of the bridge, which has undergone extensive repairs since a 2013 report found it had structural damage.

It was erected in 1875 and is the only wrought-iron bowstring truss bridge in Canada still used for vehicular traffic.

The City of London also says it’s the longest cast and wrought iron bowstring span in North America.

Several dignitaries were on hand to re-open the bridge.

The $8.6-million construction project aimed to strengthen and rehabilitate the bridge. It was funded by thhe federal government and the city.

“Thanks to this reconstruction project, we can once again rely on Blackfriars Bridge to provide a safe and reliable way across the Thames River,” said Ontario Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek.

“I am pleased to see this local fixture restored so that it can continue benefitting community members and local businesses by providing access to downtown.”

The city outlined the construction phases of the project:

  • November 2017: Bridge removed, dismantled and transported to an offsite facility
  • August 2018: Bridge moved back into place across the Thames River
  • December 2018: Grand opening
  • 2019: Final touch-ups including installation of Blackfriars Bridge monument

There will be one-way, single file traffic lane to be used by eastbound motorists and cyclists, a westbound bike lane and a wooden sidewalk for pedestrians

“In the mid-1800s, a community known as Bridgetown (later Petersville, London West) was established on the west side of the Thames River in what’s now the Blackfriars/Petersville Heritage Conservation District,” the city said in a news release.

“Built over a narrow section of the Thames River, the Blackfriars Bridge provided a way for people living in Petersville and the surrounding areas to do business at London’s Covent Garden Market, Middlesex County Court House, and City Hall.”