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International Bridge board hears inspection updates

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- The Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority (SSMBA) board of directors, the bi-national body that supervises operations of the International Bridge, heard reports on a recent bridge inspection at the board's regular meeting last Thursday.

The SSMBA board reviewed and officially accepted the results of the routine detailed inspection. A team of bridge engineering experts from the lead firm of Hardesty and Hanover (H&H) of Okemos, Mich., along with their Canadian partner firm WSP Canada Group Limited of Mississauga, Ontario, conducted the week-long periodic inspection of the bridge this fall and presented their findings at Thursday's meeting.  

"Even though maintenance activities have slowed a bit this year, the bridge's ongoing maintenance is outstanding, keeping the structure in good to fair condition," said H&H structural engineer Richard Wianecki. "Our inspection found no significant changes from previous years."

 H&H noted some minor items, such as pier cap sealing and cleaning and painting of steel components to be addressed. The International Bridge Administration (IBA) staff has included this work in scheduled maintenance for 2022.

The International Bridge is inspected every year, with the routine inspection alternating with a fracture critical inspection. The routine inspection looks at the entire bridge every other year.

"The International Bridge has a history of diligent maintenance," said Karl Hansen, the IBA bridge engineer. "Our staff is dedicated to protecting the public investment in the bridge. Any concerns found in these inspections are prioritized and addressed in a timely way, either through monitoring, contracted repairs, or in-house repairs."

In other business, the board elected officers. Board member Nicholas White of Petoskey, Mich., was elected as the 2022 chair of the SSMBA board of directors.

The SSMBA board consists of up to eight members, four Michigan members appointed by the governor and four Canadian members appointed by the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited, located in Ottawa, Ontario.

Natalie Kinloch of Apple Hill, Ontario, was elected vice chair for 2022. The other Canadian representatives on the board are Thye Lee and Warren Askew. The other U.S. representatives are Thomas Buckingham Sr., Scott Shackleton, and Linda Hoath.

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