Canadian News Headlines – Taxpayers shouldn’t foot Nipigon bridge repair bill: Nipigon mayor – Thunder Bay

Canadian news headlines

The mayor of Nipigon, Ont., says the cost to repair the new Nipigon Bridge shouldn’t be the responsibility of taxpayers.

The bridge failed in January 2016, just 42 days after it opened.

Improperly-tightened bolts snapped caused a portion of the deck to lift about 60 centimetres.

The bridge is a key link in the Trans-Canada Highway, and for about 18 hours after its failure, it was closed to all traffic. That meant there was no way for vehicular traffic to drive through that area of Canada; the bridge is the only way to cross the Nipigon River.

Repairs are ongoing, and the province has said repair costs are exceeding the initial estimate of $8-12 million. The province won’t say by how much, though, as it’s still negotiating with the contractor.

Also unknown is who will end up paying for the repairs. But Richard Harvey, mayor of Nipigon, says it shouldn’t be taxpayers.

“That does need to be something that is taken care of by those who … are responsible,” he said. “Whether it’s the contractor, engineers, whoever it is, and it’s not something that should be falling on the taxpayers.”

Negotiations ongoing

Harvey said he isn’t surprised by the fact that negotiations regarding costs are still ongoing in this instance.

“Often, when something goes wrong, there’s one particular person or one particular group, whether it’s an engineering firm or a contractor, who may be responsible,” he said. “In this case, there were at least three different things that had taken place, so certainly I do understand that they need to negotiate with numerous entities to determine who is responsible, but also what portion of that responsibility [each bears].”

The province has said that the failure was the result of bolts snapping, but the design and installation of other components contributed to that.

Bridge remains open

The bridge remains open to traffic, however, only two of the bridge’s four lanes are open, and the province said all four aren’t likely to be operating until the end of 2018.

It’s not having much of an effect on traffic flow, however, Harvey said.

“The bridge has never in history been more than two lanes,” he said. “The traffic is moving.”

“Every now and then, there may be some work that’s taking place that does slow traffic down a little bit, but certainly we have the same traffic rate as that bridge has always had,” Harvey said. “It’s always been a two-lane bridge.”



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