|Old bridge alongside the new cable-stayed bridge in November was removed|
Anyway, a few days after Brenda and I drove past the Nipigon River on the old bridge on our way to the Tourism Summit in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., half of the new $106 million, 800-foot-long bridge was opened. Everything worked fine until a few days ago when the winter finally turned seasonal and the temperature dropped to -25 C. A couple in a vehicle approaching the bridge was astonished to see the bridge deck jump upwards two feet! There was now a two-foot barrier in front of them. They were able to stop in time but two vehicles coming the other direction were not so lucky and ended up being damaged.
The bridge was immediately closed and in so doing stopped all traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway. At this particular spot both Hwy 11 and Hwy 17 -- the Trans-Canada -- run together. The next closest bridge going east and west is all the way in Sault Ste. Marie, 600 kilometres away!
Further examination by highway authorities discovered the bolts that held the bridge to the land at one end had sheared, apparently from the added stress of the cables as they contracted in the cold temperatures.
One lane of the bridge has since been re-opened with a guide vehicle taking turns leading vehicles east and west.
It is Ontario's only cable-stayed bridge and was intended to be a jewel of the Northern Ontario highway system.
Here's a link to CBC's ongoing coverage of the event.
Click to go back to our website
Click to see the latest on the blog