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Nipigon Bridge to be spotlighted on Discovery Channel

Film crew in the community to document 2016 engineering blunder
Nipigon Bridge construction (2015)
Construction of the Nipigon Bridge under in the fall of 2015 (File photo)

A film crew from the TV series Engineering Catastrophes is currently in Nipigon getting information on the Nipigon River bridge and what caused the span to close on Jan. 10, 2016.

“So obviously, everyone should be able to figure out what the storyline is they’re looking at here," said Mayor Richard Harvey. "They are looking and visiting to see what happened with the Nipigon River bridge."

Each episode profiles a different blunder from many places all over the world, and it looks like the show will investigate and analyze the structural failure of Nipigon’s bridge.

On Jan. 10, 2016, the new multi-million-dollar bridge was closed to traffic after bolts attaching the main deck failed during a winter storm causing the deck to rise two feet resulting in the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway at the bridge.

The closure of the bridge was a sight of contention for many across the supply chains. The Nipigon Bridge is the only serviceable transport route that crosses the Nipigon River.

The bridge was partially reopened to traffic the following morning after 17 hours of closure, using one lane alternating between directions. After engineering reviews by Ontario's Minister of Transportation, and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines found that three main factors led to the malfunction:

First was the design of the shoe plate and its flexibility.

Second was a lack of rotation in the bearing that was constructed.

Third was improperly tightened bolts attaching the girder to the shoe plate.

When combined, these three factors produced the malfunction.

“For anyone that hasn’t seen the show, what they basically do is they bring in engineering experts to look at what happens during an engineering failure,” said Harvey.

Engineering Catastrophe focuses on the aftermath of some of the world’s most dangerous engineering catastrophes.

The show’s synopsis boasts that the series shows the hilarious to the mind-boggling. Blunders include an airport that is sinking into the sea, an upside-down bridge, and a waterfront building that creates a dangerous wind tunnel.

— TBNewswatch