TORONTO —The province’s opposition parties are demanding the Ontario government release two reports on the Nipigon River Bridge, which failed last January just two months after opening.
The steel decking on the bridge lifted about 60 centimetres, causing a 24-hour closure of the east-west link on the Trans Canada highway and forcing large trucks to detour for weeks.
Progressive Conservative transport critic Michael Harris says two independent facilities tested the bolts on the bridge and submitted reports, and he believes there's also an internal Ministry of Transportation report into the failure of the $106-million bridge. Harris says the government has the answers and should share them with the public, especially those in northern Ontario.
NDP transport critic Wayne Gates says people deserve to know what is in the reports on the bridge failure and what is being done to fix the problems so it doesn't happen again.
But Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says it would be reckless to release "limited information in piecemeal fashion prior to having all of the facts," and promises to release all the reports into the bridge failure sometime this fall.
"Any assertion that the Ministry of Transportation is hiding information is false and represents an unfortunate attempt by the opposition parties to politicize a process that is being led by engineers and other appropriate experts and research bodies," he said.
One lane of the bridge was re-opened to light vehicles one day after the failure when officials placed huge concrete blocks to lower the deck to road level, but it was nearly a month and a half before a second lane was open to traffic.