MPP Harris demands province release Nipigon River bridge report

Ontario MPP Michael Harris issued a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne today demanding that test results and a Ministry of Transportation analysis on the Nipigon River bridge failure be made public.

Ministry of Transportation says third-party analysis will be completed by fall. Harris wants them sooner

The Nipigon River bridge heaved apart on Jan. 10, severing the main east-west artery for transportation of goods across the country. (Dave Crawford/infosuperior.com)

Ontario MPP Michael Harris issued a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne today demanding that test results and a Ministry of Transportation analysis on the Nipigon River bridge failure be made public.

The Nipigon River bridge, a newly constructed bridge in northern Ontario,  heaved apart in January, closing the Trans-Canada highway — the only road connecting eastern and western Canada.

"Simply put, if the bolts were, or were not the cause, the public needs to know. And if they were not, the government needs to come clean on its role in this regrettable, costly failure," Harris said in his letter.

As the CBC reported in early July, two independent facilities did testing on the bolts and have now submitted their reports to the MTO, but the government isn't making those public yet.

"The study into the bolts is only one piece of the larger picture," ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols said in a statement.

"The bolt study provided us with only a partial answer about the bridge, and, as such, we think it's premature to discuss it on its own at this time."

Government bridge engineers are conducting their own analysis and so is an independent engineering consultant with expertise in cable-stayed bridges. Those findings will then be compared and only then will the findings — including the already-complete bolt analyses — be made public, Nichols said.

That's expected to be in the fall.

"This type of work takes time, and it has been made clear to those involved that they should take the time they need to get it right," he said.

The temporary repair done on the bridge in January is functioning as expected, Nichols said.

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