NEWS
01/19/2016 12:39 EST | Updated 01/19/2017 00:12 EST

Engineers hope to open two lanes on Nipigon River Bridge by end of February

TORONTO — Ontario's Ministry of Transportation hopes to have two lanes of a failed bridge on a northern section of the Trans-Canada Highway open to traffic by the end of February.

Transportation Minister Stephen Del Duca says engineers are looking at a number of options to open a second lane on the Nipigon River Bridge, which was closed for 24 hours after the steel decking lifted about 60 centimetres on Jan. 10.

Cars and most trucks must wait about five minutes to cross the bridge on the one lane that was reopened last week after engineers used huge concrete blocks to lower part of the decking back to a passable level.

Del Duca says two independent testing labs will finish a visual inspection this week of the bolts on the first-ever cable-stayed bridge built in Ontario, which failed two months after it opened.

It's not clear how long it will take for full testing, which will include a chemical analysis of the bolts and a determination of the nature of the failure.

Del Duca says engineers tested the tensioning of the cables and confirmed they were not too tight, but his ministry has not ruled out any factors as the possible cause of the failure of the bridge over the Nipigon River.

Oversized trucks weighing more than 63,500 kilograms are being assessed on a case-by-case basis to see if they can cross the bridge or have to take a lengthy detour through the United States.

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The Canadian Press