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Nipigon Bridge opens traffic to four lanes

Northwestern Ontario span failed in January 2016
Nipigon Bridge under construction in September, 2015.

Almost three years after an embarrassing malfunction, the Nipigon River Bridge is now open to four lanes.

The province announced Nov. 23 that the Trans-Canada Highway span, east of Thunder Bay on Highway 11-17, is operating at full capacity.

The $106-million cable bridge failed 42 days after opening to traffic in January 2016.

An engineering report revealed that improperly tightened bolts snapped on a section of the bridge, causing the steel deck to raise 60 centimetres. Traffic was brought to a halt on the only highway connection to Western Canada.

One lane was opened the next day, followed by two lanes a month later while repairs were made.

The structure consists of three towers with cables supporting the bridge deck and a separate sidewalk for pedestrians.

“The Nipigon River Bridge is a critical link between Eastern and Western Canada,” said Energy, Northern Development and Mines Minister Greg Rickford in a statement. With the bridge open to all lanes, we are keeping Northern Ontario open for business.”