MacKinnon Bridge is located on the Smallian Road, crossing the Blanche River and was built on property owned by the MacKinnon family. The wooden structure bridge was replaced in September 2011 with a curved concrete bridge. Due to the problems with clay on the riverbed, the cost of the new bridge eventually reached $1,000,000 (the original estimate had been $750,000). Fortunately for the Municipality, except for replacing the covering, all bridges in Quebec are now the responsibility of the Quebec Government. The Municipality required that the Smallian Road remain open during the bridge re-construction. Using a huge crane, the existing wooden bridge was lifted and moved 50 feet downriver and was placed onto the site of the very first bridge and road. The river was diverted to erect the concrete bridge. Because of the clay, the footings for the bridge had to be excavated 6 feet and filled with crushed rock and then cement. The final step was to close the diversion and let the water flow through the bridge on the natural riverbed. The old bridge was then removed and the diversion was backfilled with soil. Many mature trees were removed to dig the diversion and open the original road. The Quebec Department of Environment required replacing these trees, however, the contractor ended up planting only about ten cedar trees about 1.5 meters high. I guess that the Department of Environment is allowing Mother Nature to replace the other 60 or so trees.
About 150 meters beyond the bridge the road crosses over a mountain. The next kilometer of road is the highest municipal road in Mulgrave and Derry. In past winters, this hill has created a lot of anxiety for those people living on the other side of the mountain. Ice and snowstorms made it difficult for vehicles to reach the top. It was common to make several attempts to climb the hill before putting on tire chains, or shoveling part of the hill, or waiting for the snowplow to come by. Each attempt would start further back from the bottom of the hill, sometimes as far back as 150 meters beyond the bridge.
The niece of Robert MacKinnon, Jean Depper, told me that just down river from the bridge there is a big flat rock in the river where she and her cousins would swim and sun bathe when they were young ladies.