A railway bridge had been proposed in the Fredericton area since the 1860s; construction began in 1887 and it was operational by 1890. The original bridge was heavily damaged by ice and flood waters in the spring freshet of March 1935. CNR replaced it with the current structure, which consists of 9 spans crossing a distance of 581 metres.
CN transferred ownership of the bridge to the provincial government and the structure was converted to a pedestrian and cycling bridge using federal and provincial government funding as a "millennium project." Today the bridge is a popular part of the Sentier NB Trail and is a component of the Trans Canada Trail. On June 7, 2008 the bridge was renamed the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, after a founder of the Fredericton Trail System.