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International Bridge board hears inspection updates

The International Bridge is inspected every year, with the fracture critical inspection alternating with a biannual bridge inspection.
This aerial image at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge from August shows scaffolding...
This aerial image at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge from August shows scaffolding and containment structures in place during the Canadian arch painting project. FILE. (Photo courtesy of Federal Bridge Corporation Limited)(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 2:38 PM EST
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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority (SSMBA) board of directors, the bi-national body that supervises operations of the International Bridge, heard reports on a recent bridge inspection at the board’s regular meeting Thursday.

The SSMBA board reviewed and officially accepted the results of the fracture critical inspection. A team of bridge engineering experts from the lead firm of Hardesty and Hanover (H&H) of Okemos, Mich., along with their Canadian partner firm WSP Canada Group Limited of Mississauga, Ontario, conducted the 10-day-long periodic inspection of the bridge this fall and presented their findings at Thursday’s meeting.

“The bridge’s ongoing maintenance is outstanding, keeping the overall condition of the bridge good to fair,” said H&H structural engineer Richard Wianecki. “Our inspection found no significant changes from previous years.”

H&H noted some minor items, such as touch-up paint work in the arches below the bridge deck. The International Bridge Administration (IBA) staff has included this work in scheduled maintenance for 2021.

The International Bridge is inspected every year, with the fracture critical inspection alternating with a biannual bridge inspection. The fracture critical inspection was conducted on the entire span this year, providing a close look at bridge components that are critical to the structural integrity of the bridge.

“The IBA has a track record of outstanding bridge maintenance,” said Karl Hansen, the IBA bridge engineer. “Our staff is dedicated to protecting the public investment in the bridge. We repair any structural deficiencies, no matter how minor, found during these inspections.”

In other business, the board elected officers. Board member Natalie Kinloch of Apple Hill, Ontario, was elected as the 2021 chair of the SSMBA board of directors. A member of the SSMBA board since 2015, Kinloch is the chief executive officer of The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL), the federal parent Crown corporation managing and overseeing four international bridge locations (Sault Ste. Marie, Point Edward, Lansdowne, and Cornwall).

The SSMBA board consists of eight members, four Michigan members appointed by the governor and four Canadian members appointed by the FBCL, located in Ottawa, Ontario.

Linda Hoath of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., was elected vice chair for 2021. The other U.S. representatives are Thomas Buckingham Sr., Scott Shackleton, and Nicholas White. The other Canadian representatives on the board are Anthony Pickett, Thye Lee, and Warren Askew.

The operation and maintenance of the International Bridge is totally self-funded, primarily through bridge tolls. It is not subsidized by any state, provincial, or federal government entity. For a complete list of International Bridge tolls, visit the IBA website at www.Michigan.gov/IBA.

For more information on the International Bridge, please visit www.saultbridge.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/saultbridge.

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