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International bridge's condition remains ‘good to fair,’ report says

No significant changes in state of 60-year-old structure, says engineer, who calls maintenance program 'outstanding'
USED 20200628-Good Morning Sault Ste. Marie-DT
International Bridge. Darren Taylor/SooToday

The twin Saults’ International Bridge remains in good to fair condition, according to a recent inspection report.

Meanwhile, a maintenance program designed to keep the 60-year-old span in working order was deemed "outstanding."

The Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority board of directors, the binational body that supervises operations of the International Bridge, heard reports on a recent bridge inspection at the board's regular meeting Nov. 10.

The "fracture critical inspection" provides a closer look at bridge components that are critical to the structural integrity of the bridge, which opened in 1962.

A team of bridge engineering experts from Hardesty & Hanover of Okemos, Mich., along with Canadian partner WSP Canada, Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., conducted the inspection this summer.

"The bridge's ongoing maintenance is outstanding, keeping the structure in good to fair condition," said H&H engineer Mark Helinski. "Our inspection found no significant changes from previous years."

H&H noted some minor items, such as cleaning and coating of steel components, and concrete pier repairs to be addressed.

The International Bridge Administration staff has included this work in future scheduled maintenance, the bridge authority said in a news release.

The International Bridge is inspected every year, with the routine inspection alternating with a fracture critical inspection. The routine inspection looks at the entire bridge every other year.

"The International Bridge has an excellent history of maintenance," said Karl Hansen, the IBA bridge engineer.

He said staff are diligent in protecting the public investment in the bridge.

“We prioritize and address any concerns found in these inspections in a timely way, either through monitoring, contracted repairs, or in-house repairs."

The SSMBA board consists of up to eight members: four Michigan members appointed by the governor and four Canadian members appointed by the Federal Bridge Corp. Ltd., a crown corporation.

For more information on the International Bridge, visit

— SooToday