Manitoba

St. Adolphe bridge on verge of collapse

Manitoba Highways officials have given up trying to reinforce the riverbank around a major bridge that spans the Red River south of Winnipeg, and they now expect the bridge to collapse, CBC News has been told.
Highway officials expect the St. Adolphe Bridge, destabilized by high water and bank erosion, will collapse into the Red River. ((CBC))
Manitoba Highways officials have given up trying to reinforce the riverbank around a major bridge that spans the Red River south of Winnipeg, and they now expect the bridge to collapse, CBC News has been told.

The bridge on Highway 210 entering St. Adolphe was closed Thursday as structural problems were identified.

On Friday one of the massive supporting piers shifted further, and it now seems the bridge is on the verge of collapse. People in the community of St. Adolphe were watching in disbelief as the nearby bridge — on a major transport route crossing the Red south of the Manitoba capital — continued to destabilize.

Bob Stefaniuk, mayor of the Rural Municipality of Ritchot said the bridge was built in the 1970s and appeared to be a solid structure of cement and concrete. Suddenly, it is about to fall down. The bridge carries major traffic across the Red River and connects two major north-south routes: Highways 59 and 75.

"I couldn't believe it that it changed that much overnight," said Stefaniuk. "It's what an engineer would call a catastrophic failure now."

Provincial transportation officials blame riverbank instability and high water for the failure of the support pier.

Security has been stationed at the bridge, and concrete barriers have been placed on the highway,  to keep people and motorists away from the area.

The department is advising motorists, boaters and the public to not travel, walk or boat under or near the bridge at any time.                 

"I'm just grateful that, really, it was found when it was so there was nobody on it when it happened or big trucks going across it or things like that," said Stefaniuk. "The people that were doing these kinds of checks and driving around from the highways department yesterday were astute to pinpoint and pick this out."

All eight Red River bridges between Winnipeg and the U.S. border are now being inspected for stability. High water has been flowing northward up the Red all summer following a major flood last spring.

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