Traffic detoured from Trans-Canada Highway because of overpass

| 10/13/2006

Another overpass is closed in Canada, but not because of a collapse.

An overpass along the Trans-Canada Highway in the province of Manitoba will need to be replaced following the discovery of instability on the deck Oct. 6.

Transportation officials tested the bridge and deemed it unsafe for heavy trucks. A lane will likely re-open to passenger vehicles next week, but detours and headaches will continue on secondary roads in the city of Portage la Prairie.

Officials said corrosion is the likely cause of the bridge’s instability. They said the bridge will be rebuilt and open to heavy trucks in about a year.

Just six days prior to the Manitoba closure, a chunk of an overpass in Laval, Quebec, fell and crushed several cars, killing five people and injuring several others.

That spurred Manitoba officials to take no chances.

“It was around the same time, but not as a result of Quebec,” Scott Smith, acting minister of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transport, told the Winnipeg Sun.

“There were lots of bridges in Manitoba that were built in the ’30s and ’40s,” Smith said, adding that more tests will be done around the province.

The Trans-Canada Highway is Canada’s most important east-west corridor. Approximately 12,000 vehicles used the Portage la Prairie overpass each day, according to the city’s tourism department.

Trucks are currently being routed through the city center, Smith said, and Saskatchewan Avenue is taking a beating.

Smith told the Portage Daily Graphic that the province of Manitoba is responsible for repairs to city streets damaged during the duration of the detour.