Nipigon bridge delays slow $100M of goods shipped daily

TORONTO -- The sudden closure and partial re-opening of the sole bridge connecting east and west travel in northern Ontario has raised concerns for the trucking industry that depends on the route to move $100 million worth of goods across Canada daily.

See Full Article

About 1,300 trucks cross the Nipigon River Bridge, in Nipigon, Ont., every day, according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation's 2012 commercial vehicle survey -- amounting to about $100 million in cargo daily.

"This is probably one of the most important transportation infrastructure points in the country," said Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey.

The Ontario Provincial Police closed the bridge Sunday afternoon after damage to the structure's steel decking was reported amid wind gusts and frigid temperatures. The OPP has since opened one traffic-controlled lane and warned drivers to "expect delays."

Cars and most trucks are crossing the bridge about 10 to 15 minutes slower than usual.

Oversized trucks, however, remain in limbo. Ministry staff decide on a "case-by-case basis" whether to allow trucks weighing more than 63,500 kilograms over the bridge, said Bob Nichols, a ministry spokesman, in an email.

Prolonged weight and size restrictions would mean these types of vehicles -- which often carry specialized, heavy equipment like wind turbines -- would be left with few other options. Another complete bridge closure would leave much of the industry scrambling.

"Then we could find ourselves in a very difficult situation again," said David Bradley, the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and Ontario Trucking Association.

Truckers lack alternate routes in the area when the bridge is out of service.

They could opt to travel through the United States, but that's become more difficult post 9-11, when the U.S. beefed up security measures at the border. Officials now consider Canadian cargo passing through to be the same as an international shipment, resulting in paperwork headaches for truckers.

"The U.S. authorities basically choked off" that route for Canadian truckers, said Bradley.

The Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been working to overcome these hurdles for Canadian truckers, he said, but no industry-wide plan is in place yet.

In the interim, CBSA, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and the U.S. CBP are trying "to develop temporary measures" to allow Canadian truckers easier passage through the states while the bridge remains partially closed, Esme Bailey, an agency spokeswoman, said in an email. They plan to finalize the measures later this week.

It's unclear when the bridge will fully re-open or if it will have to be closed again for repairs.

Crews are on-site, working to determine the cause, Patrick Searle, another Ontario transportation ministry spokesman, said in an email. The Ontario Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, will be in Nipigon on Wednesday to provide an update on the situation, he said.

If officials need to close the bridge again, Mayor Harvey said, the township's emergency plans include creating an alternate route.

The $106-million bridge project replaced Nipigon's old two-lane structure with a four-lane one. It opened westbound lanes to two-way traffic in November, and is expected to be completed in 2017.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Tsunami watch after 8.0 quake off Solomon Islands

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK — The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that a magnitude-8.0 earthquake has struck in waters off of the Solomon Islands. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch for Hawaii following the early Friday temblor. Source
  • N.S. man charged in murder of elderly veteran in decade-old case

    Canada News CTV News
    SYDNEY, N.S. -- A Cape Breton man has been charged in the murder of an 82-year-old Second World War veteran more than 10 years ago. Cape Breton Regional Police say 49-year-old Raymond Glenn Farrow of Glace Bay was arrested Wednesday and is facing a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Harold "Buster" Slaunwhite. Source
  • 20 years for fatally stabbing man 17 times in Edmonton hotel parking lot

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Grande Prairie man who stabbed another man 17 times in a hotel parking lot — killing him — was handed a 20-year prison term Wednesday. Justin Kenneth Sandquist, 26, had been charged with murder for the Dec. Source
  • Lawsuit against Canadian Forces alleges discrimination against gays, lesbians

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A former member of the Canadian Forces has launched a lawsuit against Ottawa over alleged discrimination based on her sexual orientation. Lawyer John McKiggan says in the statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, that between the 1950s and 1990s the Canadian government engaged in a campaign to identify, harass and purge lesbians and gays from the Armed Forces. Source
  • Audrey Tobias, senior who fought against Canadian census, dead at 92

    Canada News CBC News
    Audrey Tobias, a peace activist who made headlines for refusing to fill out the census, has died. In 2013, Tobias, then 89-years-old, faced jail time for refusing to fill out the Canadian census because its data was being gathered using software from the American military contractor Lockheed Martin. Source
  • Somali-American lawmaker says DC cabbie called her ’ISIS’

    World News Toronto Sun
    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The nation’s first elected Somali-American lawmaker says she was harassed and called “ISIS” by a taxicab driver in Washington, D.C. Minnesota state Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar detailed the incident on her Facebook page Wednesday. Source
  • Retrial kicks off for aspiring reality TV actress in murder-for-hire plot featured on 'Cops'

    World News Toronto Sun
    Is an aspiring reality TV star a scheming, gold-digging, surgically-enhanced beauty who was desperate to bump off her hubby? Former prostitute Dalia Dippolito is on trial in West Palm Beach for trying to murder her husband Michael. Source
  • Viola Desmond was the right choice

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    I’ll admit I really knew nothing about Viola Desmond until Thursday morning. But now I and scores of other Canadians know a whole lot more. Finance Minister Bill Morneau made the right choice in announcing that the Nova Scotian woman who was born in 1914 and died in 1965 would be appearing on the new $10 bill. Source
  • A second chance in Canada: How singing is giving Syrian refugee children a voice

    Canada News CBC News
    A year ago, they were refugees arriving in Canada, hoping to be welcomed to a new country far from home. Today, this group of Syrian children are singing songs about hope and peace in the House of Commons. Source
  • Lawsuit against Forces alleges discrimination against gays and lesbians

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX — A former member of the Canadian Forces has launched a lawsuit against Ottawa over alleged discrimination based on her sexual orientation. Lawyer John McKiggan says in the statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, that between the 1950s and 1990s the Canadian government engaged in a campaign to identify, harass and purge lesbians and gays from the Armed Forces. Source