Repair work on N.W.T.’s Deh Cho bridge to happen this summer

The N.W.T.’s Department of Infrastructure became aware last summer of a broken cable on the kilometre-long bridge that spans the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

Broken cable last summer prompted inspection that found a piece of faulty hardware

The N.W.T. government says it will replace a broken cable — along with a couple dozen “metal adjustment bars” — on the Deh Cho bridge sometime this summer.

The territory’s Department of Infrastructure became aware last August of a broken cable on the kilometre-long bridge that spans the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence.

As a result, the department reduced bridge traffic to one lane, installed temporary lights, reduced the speed limit, and required commercial vehicles to maintain a certain amount of spacing on the bridge. Those measures are still in place and will remain so until the repair work is done.

The department said in an email sent to CBC last week that an inspection was done on the bridge in August, along with inspections and testing of the damaged cable.

The cable broke, officials say, because it was anchored to the bridge with a faulty metal adjustment bar. The bar appeared to have a “metallurgical defect that caused it to fail,” the statement reads.

Officials inspected the bridge’s other 23 cables and the anchoring hardware in the summer and again in November and found no other problems.

However, the remaining adjustment bars were all from the same manufacturing batch — so now the plan is to replace all of the bridge’s 24 adjustment bars, along with the broken cable, “out of an abundance of caution.”

There’s no set date for when the repairs will be done. Work will begin “once replacement parts have been fabricated and when weather conditions will be optimal for this work,” according to the department’s statement.

-With files from Robert Holden

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