Nipigon River Bridge Timeline (September 22, 16:10 p.m.) – Weight Restrictions Lifted

Wawa-news will continue to update this article as information becomes available…

Sep 22, 2016 @ 16:10

On September 22, 2016, the Ministry of Transportation provided an update on the investigation into the Nipigon River Bridge after it was unexpectedly closed earlier this year. The Minister of Transportation provided a Joint Statement on Nipigon River Bridge. More information and links to the full reports can be found on this page.

This year the Ministry will install a permanent retrofit over the winter that will allow the bridge to continue to function safely and reliably.

Bolt testing reports

Investigation reports

Fact sheets

Accessible formats and communication supports are available, upon request.

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Feb 23, 2016 @ 11:10

  • There are no longer any special weight restrictions at the Nipigon River Bridge.
  • Repair work continues to south expansion joints.
  • Bridge currently remains open to single lane traffic.
  • Five minute delays can be expected.

February 22, 2016

  • Temporary repair system was installed over the weekend.
  • Concrete weight has been removed from the bridge deck.
  • Traffic has switched over to the north side of the bridge while repairs to south expansion joints are being completed.
  • Bridge currently remains open to single lane traffic.
  • Five minute delays can be expected.

February 20, 2016

Required work was completed ‎early this morning, therefore the additional two hour closure planned for Sunday, February 21 from 4:00 to 6:00 am  will not be required.  Additional short-term closures of 15 minutes or less may still occur throughout the weekend while necessary bridge repairs are undertaken in order to open the bridge to two lanes of traffic by the end of the month. We apologize for the inconvenience.  Motorists are reminded to obey and follow all traffic signage for the safety of both workers and drivers.

February 19, 2016

  • “South Girder Temporary Support”, graphic supplied by Ministry of Transport.

    Primary temporary repair has been installed and tested.

  • The attached diagrams depict the system that is installed.
  • Closures of approximately two hours each are planned on Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21 from 4:00 to 6:00 a.m.
  • Concrete barriers will be removed throughout the weekend.  Delays of up to 15 minutes can be expected while the barriers are being removed.
  • Single lane traffic will continue throughout next week while repairs to the expansion joint are being completed.
  • We remain on schedule to re-open the bridge to two lanes by the end of February.

February 18, 2016

  • Short term traffic delays can be expected on Highway 11/17 at the Nipigon River Bridge this weekend.
  • Closures of approximately two hours each are planned on Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21 from 4:00 to 6:00 a.m.
  • Additional short term closures of 15 minutes or less may also occur throughout the weekend.
  • These temporary closures are required to ensure the safety of road users and workers while necessary bridge repairs are completed.
  • The ministry will ensure emergency response through the highway closures is still maintained.

February 17, 2016

  • Associated Engineering has completed its peer review of the temporary repair. No concerns were found.
  • A 10-15 minute closure will be required later this week to allow for work on the north girder.
  • Additional 5-10 minute closures will also be required.

February 16, 2016

  • Work over the weekend progressed on schedule.
  • Concrete supports on the bridge deck were poured.
  • This week, workers will start assembling the components for the temporary repair.

In Provincial Parliament:

Today (February 16, 2016) in the legislature, NDP Transportation critic Wayne Gates (MPP Niagara Falls), demanded to know how a $106 million bridge providing a crucial connection between eastern and western Canada failed to survive a single winter.
“How is it possible for the government to spend $106 million without making sure that this bridge could withstand an Ontario winter?” asked Gates.
The $106 million Nipigon River Bridge opened to traffic less than three months ago. Following the arrival of winter two months later, the bridge buckled and failed.
“Who is responsible for signing off on a bridge that failed upon its first encounter with an Ontario winter?” asked Gates.
The Minister of Transportation would not explain how the government built a $106 million bridge that failed to survive a single Ontario winter.

February 12, 2016

  • All the materials needed for the repairs are on site.  Workers are preparing to install them.
  • Work will continue over the long weekend and will include:
    • installing lower supports on the bridge’s abutment; and
    • pouring concrete for the temporary supports on the bridge deck.
  • Bridge monitoring continues on a 24 hour basis.

February 11, 2016

  • Due to the cold weather, workers are constructing enclosures on the bridge deck to warm up the area where concrete is being poured.
  • Wait time to cross remains five minutes or less.

February 10, 2016

  • Work on the bridge deck is beginning
  • Temporary concrete supports for the repairs are being constructed on the bridge deck.
  • Work will be continuing throughout the Family Day long weekend.
  • Five minute delays can be expected.

February 9, 2016

  • Material continues to arrive on site.
  • Concrete is being poured as part of the temporary repair.
  • Wait time to cross remains less than five minutes.

February 8, 2016

  • Anchor rods now in place for the temporary support.
  • Temporary repairs remain on schedule, with materials continuing to arrive on site.
  • 24-hour monitoring continues.

February 4, 2016

  • Physical testing of the bolts continues at both labs.
  • Wait time to cross remains less than five minutes.

February 2, 2016

  • Installation of anchor rods for the temporary repair is underway.
  • Since January 11, over 100 oversize/overweight permits have been issued.
  • Wait time to cross remains less than five minutes.

February 1, 2016

  • Foundation work for the temporary support is now complete.
  • Fabrication of the components for the temporary repair will continue all week.
  • Preparation of the bridge deck surface will begin this week.
  • Wait time to cross remains less than five minutes.

January 29, 2016

  • Work on the repair will continue this weekend on a 24hr operation.
  • Shop fabrication of components for the temporary repair will continue throughout the weekend.
  • 24-hour monitoring of the bridge continues.
  • Expected wait time to cross less than five minutes.

January 27, 2016

  • An oversize/overweight permit is required if the dimensions or weight of your vehicle and/or load exceed the limits set out in the Highway Traffic Act.
  • Foundation work for the temporary repair is continuing on a 24 hour basis.
  • 24-hour monitoring of the bridge continues.
  • Expected wait time to cross less than five minutes.

January 26, 2016

  • Load restrictions have been increased on the bridge – loads up to 5.0 m in width and 70,000 kg are now allowed.
  • Loads of greater width and weight ‎will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Foundation work for the temporary repair now underway.
  • Expected wait time to cross less than five minutes.

January 25, 2016

  • Visual examination of the bolts has been completed by both labs.
  • Physical testing of the bolts to begin today.
  • Expected wait time to cross less than five minutes.

January 22, 2016

  • Physical testing of the bolts will begin Monday at both NRC and Surface Science Western.
  • Conceptual repair designs submitted for review.

January 21, 2016

  • Bridge and roadway lights activated to improve safety.
  • Associated Engineering (Ont.) Ltd. will conduct an independent review of the repair design.

January 20, 2016

  • Expected wait time to cross less than five minutes.

Jan 19, 2016 @ 13:14

Statement by the Minister of Transportation on Nipigon River Bridge

“I am pleased to provide an update on the Nipigon River Bridge situation.

Earlier today, Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle and I spoke with municipal and First Nations representatives from across the region to provide them with a progress update on both the work to find a cause for the recent bridge issue and our progress in re-opening both lanes of the bridge to traffic.

Two respected research and testing facilities have been selected to conduct testing of the bolts from the bridge: Surface Science Western and the Faculty of Engineering at Western University and the National Research Council of Canada.

This week, the labs will be completing an independent, visual ‎examination of the bolts. Once that examination is complete, the two labs will be in a better position to determine how long the full testing will take. Full testing will include a chemical analysis of the bolts, a determination of the nature of the failure, a confirmation of the mechanical properties of the bolts as well as a comparison of the bolts to design specifications. We have expressed to both research labs that this testing is a top priority for our government, however, it is important that we get it right, and that will take some time.

This testing will help the ministry determine the cause of the issue and develop a permanent solution.

The ministry continues to work with the Ontario Professional Engineers who performed the design of the bridge at WSP (formerly McCormick Rankin Corp in Mississauga), and the Canadian firm that provided additional cable stayed bridge expertise, Buckland Taylor in British Columbia. The design was performed in accordance with the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code and is capable of withstanding the necessary Code design parameters for winds in excess of 100 km/h and climatic conditions including freezing temperatures well below -40 degrees celsius. The tensioning of the cables has been confirmed however, the ministry has not yet ruled out any factors in its investigation of the cause. All of this work, combined with the results from the Western University and NRC analysis, will help the ministry determine the cause of the issue and allow our engineers to begin the development of a permanent solution.‎ Together with the contractor, a joint venture with Bot Construction Canada and Ferrovial Agroman Canada Inc., and their suppliers from within North America, significant efforts will continue to provide a safe and reliable solution that will open the bridge to two lanes.

The ministry is also currently reviewing a number of repair options to open the Nipigon River Bridge to two lanes of traffic. Each option proposes a different connection method and location to connect the bridge deck to the foundation. The chosen solution will also be peer reviewed by Ontario and other Canadian engineers.

To complete the work, occasional lane closures and temporary short-term full closures of the bridge during off-peak hours will be necessary. Notice of the complete closures will be provided well in advance to the neighbouring communities and travelers through our website and 511, MTO’s Road Information Line. Our goal is to re-open the bridge to two lanes by the end of February.

Work on the demolition of the old bridge remains paused as we focus on fully reopening the bridge to traffic and implementing a permanent solution.

Again, please be assured that I take my responsibilities for road safety seriously. That is why the design of the Nipigon River Bridge was completed by professional engineers licensed in Ontario. The design is in compliance with the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code which considers regional climate conditions.

I would like to thank everyone for their continued patience. MTO will continue to provide regular updates to the public as information becomes available. I would also like to thank Michael Gravelle for his leadership on behalf of the local community. For the latest information on highway closures, the public can call 511 or check Ontario.ca/511.”

Jan 15, 2016 @ 22:14

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has reached out to the National Research Council (NRC), Canada’s “go-to” research and technology organization, to help in their efforts to determine the cause of the failure of the Nipigon River Bridge, an essential connection of the Trans-Canada highway in northwestern Ontario and Ontario’s only cable-stayed bridge.   Beginning next week, NRC’s experts in materials analysis and critical infrastructure will analyze some of the damaged bolts taken from the Nipigon River Bridge, which will be transported to facilities in Ottawa for further testing. Failure analysis will be carried out on the bolts used to hold together two sections of the cable-stay bridge.   Work will begin with fracture surface evaluation, metallurgical composition, and mechanical property verifications to ensure conformity with ASTM standards.

Quick Facts

  • NRC and the MTO have worked together on previous projects for the MTO Bridge Office.
  • NRC’s world-class expertise and facilities in critical infrastructure develops and validates high-performance materials and innovative structural systems that extend service life and develop more reliable condition assessment, long-term forecasting and decision-support technologies for bridge management.

Quotes

“We are pleased to work with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation to analyze the conditions that led to the bolts’ failure on the Nipigon River Bridge. The National Research Council is deploying its best industry-leading experts in materials analysis and critical infrastructure and advanced equipment to arrive at a timely, safe, and lasting solution for Canadians using this important trade corridor.” –  Richard Tremblay, General Manager of Construction at the National Research Council of Canada

Additional Links

Jan 14, 2016 @ 13:01

  • Two independent testing facilities have been selected to conduct testing to determine the cause of the bolts failure: National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa and Surface Science Western at Western University.
  • Testing work is expected to ‎start on Monday.
  • Wait times continue to be less than five minutes.

Jan 14, 2016 @ 23:01

  • Minister Gravelle and Minister Del Duca attended site yesterday and met with Mayor Richard Harvey from the Town of Nipigon and Chief Wawia and council members from Red Rock FN including regional Chief Pelletier for Robinson Superior Treaty and Chief Hardy from‎ Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek
  • 24-hour monitoring of the bridge joints and bearings continues.
  • One lane of traffic continues to move over the bridge, under flagging conditions and with a pace vehicle.
  • Expected wait time to cross less than 5 minutes

Jan 11, 2016 @ 16:42

From Ontario511 Tweet at 4:10 p.m.: Nipigon River Bridge, on Highway 11/17 has one lane open for cars and trucks with gross vehicle weight up to 63,500 kg only. The bridge is also restricted to a maximum horizontal clearance of 4.0 metres. Information on allowable weights and dimensions will be updated once available.

photographer unknown – Facebook/Northern Ontario Traffic Alerts – Alertes Routiers

 

Jan 11, 2016 @ 09:53 – Many are still expressing their concern as motorists travel over the newly opened Nipigon River Bridge. Traffic is being conducted in alternating flows of traffic – the bridge is only one lane open. Traffic including transports is crossing at 25km/h.

 

Engineers and crews worked all night, and the photograph to the right displays that a number of concrete weights have been added to weigh down the bridge after it lifted.

 

Ashley Littlefield of Dorion, ON watched it happen. she stated that “if you put a piece of paper on the table and blow hard under one corner, is exactly how it happened. It just lifted, didn’t hear anything.” She estimated that the bridge rose 2-3 feet as shown in her photo below.

Jan 11, 2016 @ 09:11

At 8:45ish the Facebook page (Northern Ontario Traffic Alerts – Alertes Routiers) posts that one lane is open at the Nipigon River Bridge. “FIRST SET OF TRAFFIC IS CROSSING AS WE SPEAK. Transports as well”.

 

 

 

photo courtesy of Northern Ontario Traffic Alerts – Alertes Routiers / Jolene Cote Shawn Stenlund

Jan 11, 2016 @ 08:31

Not clear at this time when the bridge will re-open. Engineers are currently assessing the situation. Marathon will go over emergency management plans this morning. CFNO (Marathon) notes that lignups have been seen for gas; consumers are concerned because gas is sourced from the west. It is anticipated that grocery stores will also have product supply problems. The Nipigon Community Centre (west side of bridge), and Lake Helen Resource Centre (east side of the bridge) is also open for shelter for stranded motorists. Nipigon Baptist Church is holding breakfast at 10 am for stranded motorists. Travellers without passports and necessary documents (if they are transport drivers) are stranded. In Wawa, this will pose problems for employees at local area gold mines who travel from west of Nipigon.

Jan 11, 2016 @ 23:41 p.m.

CBC Video for readers in the United States who cannot see.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6Xi_aiMmns

Jan 10, 2016 @ 22:31

As of January 10, 2016 7:08 p.m., the community of Lake Helen Reserve has declared a State of Emergency due to the uncertainty of the re-opening of the Nipigon River Bridge.

Jan 10, 2016 @ 22:03 p.m.

The Nipigon Baptist Church will be opening its doors tomorrow at 10am for a free breakfast for those stranded by the Nipigon River Bridge closure.

Jan 10, 2016 @ 21:23

Deputy-Mayor Eric Pietsch has declared a State of Emergency for the Municipality of Greenstone due to the closure of Highway 11-17, and structural issues with the Nipigon River Bridge. Closure is indefinite at this time.

Jan 10, 2016 @ 20:53

Nipigon OPP Press Release: On January 10, 2016 at approximately 3:15 PM police received a report that the Nipigon River Bridge on Highway 11-17 had lifted, blocking traffic.  Police arrived on scene and noted the west side of the bridge had lifted approximately 60 centimetres.  No injuries or vehicle damage occurred as a result of this incident. The bridge is currently closed to vehicle traffic.  The Ministry of Transportation and BOT Construction remain on scene conducting repairs to the bridge. At this time there is no local alternate traffic route available.  The bridge remains open to pedestrian traffic.  

Jan 10, 2016 @ 18:45

MTO Press Release: The Ministry of Transportation advises the motoring public that Highway 11/17 is closed at the Nipigon River Bridge. Safety is our top priority. Conditions are currently being assessed and additional details on estimated time for opening of the highway will be provided when they become available. For the latest information on highway closures, the public can call 511, MTO’s Road Information Line or check www.ontario.ca/511.

Jan 10, 2016 @ 18:33

Wawa-news article about history of bridges over Nipigon River, and construction history of new bridge, and implications on travel through Northern Ontario.

Jan 10, 2016 @ 17:08

Reposting of original article to correct first headline saying that Hwy 11 was still a way to go west.

Jan 10, 2016 @ 16:00

Original article breaking story of Nipigon Bridge Closure

Jan 10, 2016 @ 15:35 – OPP Press release received at Wawa-news, first article posted: At 3:35 p.m. today, the Nipigon Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police advised that the bridge on Highway 17 has been closed for an indefinite time due to mechanical issues.

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