January 12th, 2016

NDP Transportation Critic calls for answers on Nipigon River Bridge

Ontario NDP Transportation Critic Wayne Gates (MPP, Niagara Falls) is asking if the Liberal Government investigated whether the contractor for the Nipigon River Bridge had sufficient experience and knowledge of conditions in Northern Ontario before awarding the contract.

“The top priority needs to be making sure roads and bridges are safe for Ontarians. That means listening to local knowledge. The government needs to explain whether there was sufficient local knowledge and expertise to ensure this bridge could deal with a Canadian winter,” said Gates, the Niagara Falls MPP. “This threw people into chaos, and it threw businesses who rely on cross-Canada trucking into chaos. Getting this wrong has major consequences. Ontarians need to know we can trust our transportation network.”

The bridge malfunction that left Western Canada severed from Eastern Canada appears to have occurred because of faulty connecting bolts, leading Gates to question whether decisions were made based on cost instead of quality.

“We have companies right here with the expertise to choose the right equipment and build these bridges to withstand a Canadian winter. After all, who knows more about this kind of temperature than local Ontario workers?” said Gates. “This bridge failure shows why local knowledge is so important when awarding construction and engineering contracts in Ontario.”