House Removal Collapses Bridge

Photographs show a bridge that collapsed when movers tried pull a house across it?

Claim:   Photographs show a bridge that collapsed when movers tried to pull a house across it.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2008]

Engineering Questions of the Day

How much does a house weigh and

How much can a rural two-lane bridge hold?



Origins:   A British Army adage (commonly known as the “7 Ps”) advises that “prior planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance.” That adage might be applied to these photographs of a bridge collapse, near Calgary, Alberta, which occurred when (according to the Calgary Herald) “a moving company hauling a 2,100-square-foot home took the wrong road and wedged it into a narrow bridge, causing the bridge to collapse and the road to give way.”

As that newspaper went on to describe:

The collapse was on Township Road 250, which extends from McKnight Boulevard, east of Calgary.

The movers from McCann’s Building Movers were westbound around 9:30 a.m., less than five kilometres from their destination, when they could feel something was wrong.

The concrete bridge deck and timber support structure buckled, then collapsed, and wheels from the tractor trailer carrying the house toppled into the canal below.

According to a December 2007 article in the publication Structural Mover, however, the accident was not so much the result of a lack of planning as it was the result of miscommunication between the movers and municipal authorities over a change in route:

McCann’s requested a permit from RVMD (Rocky View Municipal District) to transport the RTM (Ready-to-Move) to a specified location. At

10:30 a.m. on a Friday, McCann’s personnel received verbal authorization to use Township Road 250 [and were issued] a permit. The RTM was already loaded at a separate location from McCann’s office and ready for a Monday morning delivery. After McCann’s office closed for the [weekend] at 5:00 p.m., Roadata sent a facsimile to McCann’s office. The facsimile contained no “Notice” or “Urgent” or “Change of Permit” or “Route Change” notation on the document. McCann’s received no phone call from Roadata informing them of the change in route. The facsimile simply changed the route that had been approved three hours earlier but had been transmitted after McCann’s personnel had left the office for the weekend.

On Monday morning McCann’s pulled out of the staging area on a route that had been approved earlier by all parties involved. Shortly after 9:00 a.m., after the power unit pulling the load had crossed the bridge in question, the structure buckled and collapsed.

Last updated:   16 November 2013



    Chapman, Sarah.   “Movers ‘A Little Embarrassed.'”

    Calgary Herald.   17 July 2007.

    Structural Mover.   “Lack of Good Communications Can Be Costly.”

    December 2007   (p. 33).
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes