©2016 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
“Why is there only one Trans-Canada route?”
An Epic Failure Cut Canada in half? Too Easy!
Unbelievable! No, this is not fiction. An epic failure cut Canada in half. For a short time, the failure of the brand new, Nipigon River Bridge cut Canada in half. Unbelievably, this bridge is the ONLY link between eastern and western Canada. The bridge transfers $100M in goods across the Nipigon River every day of the year, hauled by thousands of transport trucks and other vehicles in both directions. In addition, Canadians cross this bridge daily, emergency vehicles, tourists, every bit of traffic across Canada MUST use this bridge, so how could a project, critical infrastructure, so incredibly important to a nation —be allowed to fail?
Do politicians recognize how vulnerable this leaves Canada and Canadians? Does the increasingly-demonstrated-incompetent Wynne government even realize the implications of what has occurred?
Why is there only one Trans-Canada route? Let us ask that question again!
Why is there only one Trans-Canada route?
Bridge Design by Ego instead of Logic?
The EPIC failure of the new, ego-generated, ‘state of the art’ cable stay (suspension-type) bridge on the TransCanada Highway (Highway 17) just east of Nipigon, Ontario, cut Canada in half instantly on January 10th, 2016 without any prior notice. Get that?
People were stranded on both sides in sub-zero winter conditions. Emergencies were declared. Local c0mmunities responded by taking in travelers. Worth repeating, Highway 17, the TransCanada highway, is the ONLY highway link between east and west. It must be asked again, and again, if necessary, “Why is there only one Trans-Canada route?”
Was this bridge considered suitable for Canada’s extreme climate? Wind? Was the bridge designed by ego and hot air instead of logic? The Nipigon suspension bridge is the only one of its design in Ontario. “It will be a major tourist attraction, blah, blah, blah, “ is heard from politicians constantly.
How important. Political egos, apparently, are more important than safety, reliability and the transport of essential goods and services…
The Epic Failure: by bad design and Inept Engineering, or Failed, CHEAP IMPORTED materials?
The first half (with only two of the planned three pylons and one deck, presently consisting of two lanes, the future westbound lanes) of the bridge was in use. The bridge had only been opened to traffic (used temporarily for both directions) in November, 2015.
The disastrous, epic failure resulted in one end of the bridge being heaved up about 2 feet (60cm) unevenly above the roadway, leaving the bridge inaccessible and temporarily unstable. Huge structural bolts snapped.
The bridge deck reportedly raised about a half meter and settled back down, —but not back into place, leaving the bridge deck about 2′ above the abutment ends and the highway grade.
So —questions MUST be asked:
- was this disastrous failure a result of bad design and inept engineers unfamiliar with the extreme weather in Northwestern Ontario
- was wind a factor?
- were improperly-tested, cheap imported materials from China used?
- Did the steel cables shorten in the extreme cold unevenly, putting undue pressure on the abutments, creating an upward slingshot effect when the bolts snapped?
- Why are the cable spans uneven (different lengths, on east and west?)
- Were the cable webs tensioned improperly or unevenly? Is the design unbalanced?
- Was it an on-site construction or engineering error?
- Even if the bridge is repaired, will the same thing occur with the substantially colder and more severe winter conditions of Northwestern Ontario?
- Why was the bridge designed with three pylons—to ultimately carry traffic both eastbound and westbound on the same vulnerable structure, —at the same vulnerable location —when completed? To save cost?
- Is the bridge even safe to use?
- Is public safety now to be a major, long-term issue with this construction at this essential river-crossing?
- Who will be held responsible for this epic failure? The Wynne government, which approved this project?
- Why is a complete twinning of the Trans-Canada highway NOT a major infrastructure project of the Federal government?
The severing of the Trans-Canada highway, the ONLY link across Canada is unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. Action is required.
Here at IncomingBytes we suggest that the FEDERAL government must, of necessity, become involved in the construction of an all-weather, fully-accessible alternative bridge link across this POTENTIALLY-DISASTROUS choke point in Canada —and investigate the handling of the whole project.