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

  • WhyIDidntReport takes off on Twitter as Trump questions Kavanaugh's accuser

    World News CTV News
    The heated conversation in the United States over the accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh, took another dramatic turn as people began opening up about their own incidents of sexual assault online. Source
  • Taiwan police arrest Cody Wilson, gun rights activist wanted in U.S.

    World News CBC News
    Authorities in Taiwan arrested the owner of a Texas company that sells plans to make untraceable 3D-printed guns who is wanted in the U.S. over an accusation that he had sex with an underage girl and paid her $500 afterward, official media reported. Source
  • NYT says deputy AG proposed secretly taping Trump — Rosenstein calls report 'inaccurate'

    World News CBC News
    Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein denied a New York Times report Friday that he suggested that he secretly record U.S. President Donald Trump last year to expose chaos in the administration and that he floated the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Source
  • U.S. Deputy Attorney General denies he suggested secretly taping Trump

    World News CTV News
    In this July 13, 2018, file photo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice. Rosenstein is defending the prosecution of foreign agents who may never see the inside of a U.S. Source
  • 'Hot-umn?' Hotter than normal fall on the horizon: Environment Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    It’s the last day of summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the warm weather. In fact, Environment and Climate Change Canada is predicting a hotter than usual fall. David Philips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, says their fall outlook shows it is “going to be warmer than normal across the country. Source
  • N.S. to mark little-known connection to David Ben-Gurion and the Jewish Legion

    Canada News CTV News
    WINDSOR, N.S. -- Before he became Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion earned 50 cents a day as a soldier and slept on the ground in bell tents in the small town of Windsor, N.S. Source
  • Taiwan police arrest U.S. 3D gun man accused of sex with minor

    World News CTV News
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Authorities in Taiwan have arrested the owner of a Texas company that sells plans to make untraceable 3-D printed guns who is wanted in the U.S. for paying an underage girl for sex, official media reported. Source
  • Northlands to improve safety, amend statement of defence that blamed sex assault victim

    Canada News CBC News
    A statement of defence from Northlands that blamed a teen's alleged sexual assault at K-Days on her own "negligence" was released by an insurance company before the organization had reviewed it, Northlands said in a video statement Thursday evening. Source
  • New four-volume atlas highlights Canada’s rich Indigenous heritage

    Canada News CTV News
    Canada’s vibrant Indigenous heritage is highlighted in a new book collection – made in collaboration with communities across the country. Canadian Geographic’s Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is a four-volume set which guides readers through land, languages, people and culture. Source
  • Turkey says it will patrol a former ISIS-held Syrian town with U.S. forces

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL -- Turkey will soon conduct joint patrols with U.S. forces in the strategic northern Syrian town of Manbij, once a stronghold of the Islamic State group, a top Turkish official said on Friday The announcement came as Turkey's Defence Ministry said in a Friday statement that the borders of Idlib's demilitarized zone were determined in a meeting with their Russian counterparts during a three-day meeting. Source