Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New Tittle Bridge opens

Investigation into cause of collapse continues

  • October 20 2021
  • By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative reporter    

CANSO – In early October, the new Tittle Bridge linking Durrell’s Island to the mainland in Canso was opened.

The original span, a single-lane, steel-truss bridge slated for repair, collapsed on July 7, 2020, under the weight of a tractor trailer carrying a construction crane. Following the collapse, a causeway was built across the narrow channel to allow island residents passage to the mainland.

This month, The Journal contacted the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration – the department in charge of investigating the incident, where not only the bridge collapsed but a worker was also injured – for an update on the investigation. Department spokesperson Khalehla Perrault stated in an email that the file was still open on the incident. She said both the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Renewal (TIR, now Department of Transportation and Active Transit) and Alva Construction Limited had been issued compliance orders two days after the collapse of the bridge.

The compliance order issued to TIR (July 9, 2020) stated the department contravened occupational health and safety act provisions and requested the following documentation:

  • A copy of all contract documentation between TIR and Alva Construction for the project.
  • A copy of any correspondence or emails exchanged between Alva Construction and TIR discussing the bridge’s load capacity or other discussions related to the transport of equipment across the bridge.
  • A copy of all documents related to the bridge design, rated load capacity, installation, construction, inspection, maintenance, and any other related details.
  • A copy of all assessments, reports, and inspections of the bridge that were done in the last five years.
  • All documentation to support what prompted the replacement of the Bridge at this time.
  • A list of TIR personnel involved in the project with a description of their roles, job titles, and contact information.
  • Written statements from each TIR employee involved in the project and the events leading up to the incident.

The compliance order issued to TIR also stated that the weight of the construction crane involved in the incident was 80 tons. Given that residents in the area reported that they would not cross the bridge if a school bus, average weight 12.5 tons, or any other large vehicle such as an oil truck was on the bridge, due to fear of collapse, the weight of the crane was far more than what residents familiar with the span would advise.

The compliance order issued to Alva Construction on July 9, 2020 requested documentation similar to that which was made of the TIR with additional information regarding:

  • Certificate of registration for the flatbed and truck involved in the incident.
  • Engineer’s certificate for the crane involved in the incident.
  • The weight of each individual piece of equipment that was transported across the bridge to the island such as the compactor/roller, crane counterweights, etc.
  • The weight of the crane, flatbed, and truck that was involved in the incident.

The deadline for the conditions of the compliance order was Aug. 19, 2020. The Journal is seeking access to the resulting documents from the compliance orders.