Feds pass bridge-tunnel oversight Act

OTTAWA — A federal proposal that requires Ottawa to keep closer watch on the operations and security of the country’s 24 international bridges is now law.

The International Bridges and Tunnels Act, which received Royal Assent in 2007, was published in the Canada Gazette Part II, yesterday and is now in effect.

As todaystrucking.com first reported in 2005 when the legislation was tabled, the rule requires bridge owners and operators to inspect and report to the Minister of Transport on the safety of their structures on a regular basis.

The reports include frequency and type of major maintenance performed, inspection results, the type of vehicles permitted and any restrictions placed on them.

"These new safety measures will help ensure that international bridges and tunnels remain safe and secure for all who use them," said Canada’s Transport Minister, John Baird.

The government’s responsibility over private bridges and tunnels became a hot issue a few years ago when the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor-Detroit reportedly allowed hazmat trucks onto the structure despite a ban on such freight.

The Ambassador — one of only two private bridges between Canada and the U.S. (the other is International Bridge in Fort Frances, Ont. and International Falls, Minn.) — is said to have full autonomy over inspections and security on its bridge property.

There are currently 24 international vehicular bridges and tunnels, and nine international railway structures with various forms of ownership and governance structures.


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