Update: Traffic Moving Slowly on Single Lane of Broken Bridge
NIPIGON, ON -- A new bridge across the Nipigon River on Hwy. 11/17 -- the TransCanada -- about 100 km east of Thunder Bay, failed Sunday afternoon, effectively severing cross-Canada traffic, but officials reported early Monday that one lane of the bridge has been re-opened to traffic. An expansion joint has apparently broken where the bridge joins an abutment connecting it to the river bank's edge, lifting one side of the bridge as much as two feet -- 60 cm -- above the other. Part of the newly constructed cable-stayed bridge, not yet finished, was just opened last November but cold temperatures have by all accounts proven too much for it. Bolts snapped in an expansion joint on the two new westbound lanes, currently carrying two-way traffic. According to a CBC report, Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca has said his ministry "will do everything they can do to restore the bridge quickly, while also making sure that the safety of the travelling public remains of paramount importance." There may be some hope that the eastbound lanes of the old bridge being replaced, presently closed for demolition in advance of further construction, could be temporarily re-opened. Late Sunday night, with engineers on site to assess the situation, no solution had been announced.