Swing bridge maintenance work to continue for next few weeks

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LITTLE CURRENT—While the problems with the Little Current swing bridge being stuck in the open position for more than an hour on June 17 (causing traffic delay jams on both side of the bridge)  were not caused by maintenance work being carried out on the bridge, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has indicated that maintenance work will continue over the next few weeks.

“Little Current swing bridge routine maintenance is underway and expected to be completed by the end of July,” said Jaclyn Lytle, stakeholder relations advisor, northeast operations with the MTO. “This work involves welding on the bridge deck. During this work, the bridge will continue to be closed to traffic for 15 minutes per hour, between the hours of 6 pm and 4 pm, Monday to Thursday.”

Ms. Lytle explained, “due to extreme wind conditions at the Little Current swing bridge on Highway 6, sensors were damaged while the bridge was in the open position. This damage was not related to ongoing maintenance on the bridge deck.”

As was reported last week, travellers to and from Manitoulin Island were stranded for more than an hour on June 17 due to the swing bridge being stuck in the open position. Not only did it cause serious vehicle traffic congestion on both sides of the bridge, it also caused marine traffic to be cut off and be delayed.

Responding to a question posed by The Expositor as to whether the bridge will not risk swinging open in future extreme wind events,  Ms. Lytle said, “the safety of the travelling pubic is the ministry’s top priority. In extreme conditions, the ministry will evaluate what steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of the travelling public and respond accordingly.”