Wheaton Covered Bridge

Wheaton Covered Bridge
High Marsh Road, Sackville, N.B. 
The Wheaton Covered Bridge carries traffic on the High Marsh Road across the River Tantramar. Built, probably in 1916, it is approximately 165 feet (51 metres) long.The bridge is named for Thomas Wheaton who lived in the last house on the road before the bridge, and who may have, at the time of building the bridge, owned the marsh land where the bridge was built.

C.1990 a steel arch was placed at the west end of the bridge to indicate the maximum height for vehicles crossing the bridge. At the same time two addition supports were installed underneath the bridge.

Overland traffic between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had to pass through the narrow Chignecto Isthmus via Sackville. The tidal Tantramar River constituted a barrier and the early settlers had to go as far inland as the present High Marsh Road to cross the river.

There certainly was a bridge here which carried stagecoach traffic on the Westmorland Great Road prior to the building of a bridge in 1840 at approximately the site where the present Trans-Canada Highway crosses the Tantramar River. That crossing diverted most of the heavy traffic from the more inland site.

Wheaton Covered Bridge

Photo: Kip Jackson


Wheaton Covered Bridge Interior


The bridge construction follows the well-known Howe truss plan patented by American bridge designer William Howe (1803-1852) in 1840. The framework of the bridge consists of criss-crossing diagonal heavy wooden beams (in compression), with 10 pairs of vertical iron rods (in tension) on each side. The diagonal beams are arranged in pairs leaning towards the centre of the bridge with only one beam leaning in the other direction (see photo left). At the middle of the bridge this arrangement switches and the double diagonal beams lean towards the middle of the bridge from the other direction.

The roof and siding protect the bridge from the weather and help ensure the bridge has a long life.

The bridge is also listed as “Tantramar River #2” which may mean that in 1916 this replaced the earliest bridge at this point.

The lower ends of the iron rods are threaded with large nuts that can be accessed from beneath the bridge and tightened in order to correct any sagging of the bridge.
Wheaton Covered Bridge: threaded ends of iron rods, from underneath the bridge.

Photo: Don Parker


Jackson, K. and C.Scobie, Sackville Then and Now: New Brunswick’s Oldest Town in Photographs (Sackville, N.B.: Tantramar Heritage Trust, 2013), pp. 6-7.

Sullivan, Donna, “Tantramar’s Covered Bridges,” in The White Fence, #75, January 2017, pp.2-5.

Wheaton or Tantramar River #2, Westmorland County on Covered Spans of Yesteryear website.

Tantramar Heritage Trust | Historic Sites