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Last January a remote area of  Western Ontario was in the news when a bridge was closed – thus cutting the Trans-Canada Highway in half.

Damage to the newly built Nipigon River Bridge bridge cut traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway,leaving no option for motorists driving across northern Ontario but to cross the U.S. border, there being no alternate road routes north of the Trans-Canada. As a result, this section of the Trans-Canada Highway is considred an economic lifeline and the Nipigon River Bridge is supposed to be the region’s infrastructure “crown jewel,” he said.

“There is no alternate route.”

Until 1937 there was no vehicular bridge connecting the region. There was a CP rail bridge, but it was not until Kings Road 17 was connected by the original Nipigon River Bridge that cars could cross by bridge.

The system which was to become the Trans-Canada Highway was approved by the Trans-Canada Highway Act of 1949, with construction starting in 1950. The highway officially opened in 1962, and was completed in 1971.

In all, the Trans-Canada today travels through all ten provinces from coast to coast. It is, along with the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia’s Highway 1 , one of the world’s longest national highways, with the main route spanning 8,030 km (4,990 mi).

As mentioned above, the section near Nipigon, the narrowest in the Canadian road network,  is the only road that connects Eastern and Western Canada. The gap in the road forced travelers to detour around Lake Superior.

Hatch Mott MacDonald is providing construction administration and technical oversight of the new Nipigon River Bridge, Ontario-s first cable-stayed bridge. Located along the TransCanada Highway east of Thunder Bay, the $106 million bridge is scheduled to open in the near future. (CNW Group/HATCH)

Hatch Mott MacDonald is providing construction administration and technical oversight of the new Nipigon River Bridge, Ontario-s first cable-stayed bridge. Located along the TransCanada Highway east of Thunder Bay, the $106 million bridge is scheduled to open in the near future. (CNW Group/HATCH)

 

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