A number of maintenance projects are planned for the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie through the 2019 construction season.
"We would like the public to be aware of the ongoing preventive maintenance projects planned for this year and the presence of maintenance staff on the bridge that these efforts will require," bridge engineer Karl Hansen said in a news release issued by the International Bridge Administration (IBA).
"Our staff will be performing their duties in live traffic conditions, and I would urge that customers crossing the bridge obey speed limits, watch for workers, and be attentive to conditions while driving. The safety of our staff as well as the motoring public is our top priority."
The work includes:
- resumption of cleaning and coating of the bridge's ivory-coloured curb rail, which will mark the third season of this work. To date, IBA staff has cleaned and coated 3,732 linear feet of the rail;
- beginning the cleaning and coating of the green-coloured pedestrian rail, with a focus on the east side of the bridge north from the U.S. end of the structure. Maintenance staff believes the accelerated corrosion of the rail is due to road salt being tracked onto the bridge from I-75 traffic;
- beginning epoxy flood coating of the bridge deck along the entire centre span, protecting it from water infiltration. This process will involve filling in and sealing all hairline cracks identified in the bridge deck, making future crack sealing more efficient;
- continuing spot painting of the superstructure and substructure steel on the U.S. arch of the bridge; and
- replacement of another 10 expansion joints on the bridge deck, which helps prevent water collection on the substructure and, in turn, prevent further corrosion of steel surfaces.
The International Bridge, connecting the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is the only vehicular crossing within a 300-mile distance.
The corridor serves as an essential transportation link to the steel, paper and forest industries; to tourism-reliant business; and to the general public for work, recreation, and shopping purposes.