Researchers investigating Nipigon River Bridge failure

Paul Mayne // Western News

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has sought the expertise of Surface Science Western (SSW) and the Faculty of Engineering to conduct testing of the bolts from the Nipigon River Bridge. On Jan. 10, the decking on the newly built $106-million bridge lifted about 60 cm, forcing a 17-hour shutdown and closing the Trans-Canada Highway link between the east and west. One lane of the bridge has since been re-opened.

Western team members, including, from left, Brad Kobe, SSW Research Scientist; Robert Klassen, Mechanical and Materials Engineering professor; Sridhar Ramamurthy, SSW Senior Research Scientist; David Shoesmith, SSW Director and Chemistry professor; and Mike Bartlett, Civil and Environmental Engineering professor, are undertaking an independent examination of the bolts. The bolts will be examined visually first, followed by chemical analysis, a determination of the nature of the failure, a confirmation of the mechanical properties of the bolts, as well as a comparison of the bolts to design specifications.