DBi Sudbury crews begin major bridge rehabilitation contract
On February 17th, DBi Bridge Crews in Sudbury began a major rehabilitation project on the 368-foot Little Current Swing Bridge. Completed in 1913 by the Algoma Eastern Railway, this bridge was designed to carry rail traffic to Manitoulin Island (the largest freshwater island in the world). Converted to a rail/vehicle crossing in 1946 and finally a vehicle crossing in 1980’s, this bridge is the only drivable link from the mainland to Manitoulin Island and has been in continuous operation ever since opening. With temperatures at times hovering around –25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit), DBi-led crews have the responsibility of jacking up the entire bridge, replacing key components such as the eight wheel units and clutch that allow the bridge to swing, as well as rehabilitating the bearing while still allowing traffic to continually flow over the bridge. This carefully choreographed rehabilitation will be completed by the time the shipping channel it spans is opened for traffic in April.
With an estimated weight of 850 tons, this is one of the longest and heaviest swing bridges in Canada and has proved to be a ground breaking project for DBi due to the crucial link this bridge provides from the island to the mainland. Therefore, every precaution must be taken to ensure the 12,600 residents of the island can access the mainland (the only crossing point available in the winter months). DBi’s ability to meet its stated time constraints has paved the way for additional work on this bridge that DBi has been awarded to further upgrade this 102 year old structure.