Epic Failure Cut Canada in Half


©2016 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

The Nipigon River Bridge

The Nipigon River Bridge (rendering Credit MTO/MRC)




 “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 noticeGet 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.



*update:  Single-lane traffic is now crossing the bridge slowly,  alternating directions in turn, being led by a “pilot vehicle”.   Perfect. Traffic is delayed BOTH ways for an undetermined period of time while engineers and politicians alike scratch their heads to determine ‘what went wrong’ with this fancy piece of under-engineered  ego…… and how to REPAIR the famous, failed  bridge which cut Canada in half, —at a cost of $106 million dollars.  Yes, $106M of taxpayer loot.  Your loot.

How typical. 


Is that Incoming I hear?


About Raymond Alexander Kukkee

A published author and freelance writing professional, Raymond lives and writes in Northwestern Ontario.
This entry was posted in Business, Civilization, Economic issues, Life, Major Issues, Politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Epic Failure Cut Canada in Half

  1. i got it! this bridge event is the work of separatists who don’t want to share a whole piece of Canadian bacon..sure the french want the eastern segment; the anglos want the western expanse–and now pops the ideal opportunity –how very convenient for the one who sit in a high rise planning political consequences–how inconvenient for the ones freezing their extremities in the discomfort of their vehicles out there..
    brr! one more reason to practice boy-scout’s preparedness–blanket, sweater,insulated water jug, beef jerky, Patagonia weather gear. i imagine cellphones are stressed in such temperature./
    but tell me–how do people cross over up or down that river to go to work?mm?tough.

    • Nadine, we can assume this structure could be used politically to divide eastern and western Canada, certainly western Ontario residents from thoughtless eastern bureaucrats, Ontario should have been divided decades ago…. What would be even better— if Northwestern Ontario took the bridge over and charged tolls…goods and services traffic taxes both directions….Sounds pretty profitable, and profit is what it is about, right?

      High rise planners and financiers on Bay Street in Toronto would scream in protest, Quebecois would be delighted, “look how easy it is to divide Canada”, tourists would flock to the site to see the biggest bridge boondoggle in Canadian history, and best of all, we could shut the bridge down arbitrarily whenever politicians were headed our way, and everything would be perfect. 😀
      One thing for sure, “preparedness” is definitely a good idea2 traveling the northern routes…this is a perfect example of why. 😀 Thank you for commenting, my friend ~R

  2. oh yes.. like the big bay bridge between New York and New Jersey? divide and conquer? a political effect of pride and policy.

    the BBB lesson plan–“biggest bridge boondoggle”
    ) buy local.. no need to ship cheap from so far.
    b) hire local.. if the engineers and laborers build it- they must drive it..
    b) charge for it.. maintenance is the specific responsibility of its users, right?

  3. Exactly, Nadine. Today the BBB (biggest bridge boondoggle) bridge is still ONE lane. How can ANY country exist with a one-lane bottleneck? Perhaps the greatness of a province should be defined by the competence, or lack thereof, of government?

    There has never been a better opportunity than the existing bridge dilemma to awaken the people of Canada. Clearly there has been a failure on MANY levels; engineering, procurement, highway planning, economic and even security issues, etc.
    Yes, this highway should be twinned completely– a second highway built to circumvent this potential bottleneck is badly required. Adding a second pair of lanes to the existing structure at the same location–will not address the potential catastrophe at this bottleneck.
    We can hardly wait to see the “solution”….. Thanks again for commenting. ~R

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