LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin swing bridge had its biennial (every two-year) review in July by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the results are in—the bridge is in ‘good’ condition.

Every two years, each of Ontario’s bridges undergoes an inspection and is rated on a Bridge Condition Index (BCI): A BCI between 70 and 100 is considered ‘good’ with maintenance not usually required in the next five years. A BCI of between 60 and 70 is fair with “maintenance work usually scheduled within the next five years.” This, the MTO states, “is the ideal time to schedule major bridge repairs to get the most out of bridge spending.”

A rating of less than 60 is ‘poor’ and maintenance work will then be scheduled within one year.

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In July, the swing bridge received a BCI of 75.5. In 2016 the BCI was 75.5; 2014, 75.8; 2012, 76.3; 2010, 54.9 (the $8 million bridge makeover occurred one year later, in 2011); 2008, 54.8; 2007, 55.2; 2004, 51.4; and in 2003, 51.9.

The ministry does note that the BCI is used to plan maintenance and repairs, but does not indicate the safety of the bridge.

In an email from Carole Paiment of the MTO, she writes: “The bridge was last inspected in July 2018 and remains safe for use. The inspection did not identify items that could impact the safety of the travelling public using the bridge. The main findings of the inspection related to the major components of the structure include: Deck riding surface—in good general condition with loss of anti-skid coating and some cracks at the north end; wood deck below wearing surface—in a very good overall condition; steel girders and diaphragms on the approach spans—in good general condition with light corrosion; main span steel trusses and floor systems—in good general condition with light corrosion; concrete abutments and pier shafts—in good general condition with narrow and pattern cracks.”

The report identified the following maintenance work: repair de-bonded and cracked areas in the wearing surface; replace deteriorated portions of the timber curbs and walkway; repair loose and deformed angles of the deck joints; and replace the seals of the deck joints.

The MTO owns approximately 2,800 bridges across the province and each one receives a detailed inspection every two years and the MTO conducts general maintenance inspection on all bridges at least twice a year.

This maintenance schedule and related inspection is unrelated to the current examination of a possible and eventual replacement of the swing bridge.