The International Bridge, which connects the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is set to get some upgrades in 2017.
The International Bridge Administration (IBA) has plans for work on both the American and Canadian portions of the span.
“We’ve re-evaluated the bridge’s overall business plan with regard to timing of future capital projects and we’ve started a more aggressive preventive maintenance program,” IBA general manager Peter Petainen said in a release.
“We plan to be more cost-effective by completing certain projects in-house and integrating new or alternate technologies.”
On the American side, two rocker link arms will be replaced in 2017. The arms allow for the expansion and contraction of the arch as temperature conditions change. The work was originally slated for 2016, but was delayed due to finances.
The IBA said the contractor will “remove the 10-foot-tall link arms and replace them with new disk bearings” at a cost of $500,000.
On the Canadian side, a painting project originally scheduled for 2016 will also take place this year. The IBA currently has the project out for tender; specifically, it is seeking a contractor to perform a high ratio calcium sulfonate alkyd (HRCSA) one-coat paint system, which is expected to be more cost-effective, resist corrosion, be completed faster, and minimize disturbance to the environment and bridge users.
Other maintenance projects on this year’s docket include:
• cleaning and coating the vehicle curb rail along the full length of the bridge;
• spot-painting parts of the American arch, in order to defer complete painting to a later date;
• painting the steel beams on the one and two American bridge spans; and
• replacing the sliding plate bearings on both the American and Canadian arch trusses.
The operation and maintenance of the International Bridge is self-funded, primarily through bridge tolls.