Collapse investigation underway

25 April 2008

Five people were killed when a section of a concrete bridge carrying traffic over Highway 19 in Montreal, Canada collapsed in October.

Initial investigations into the shear failure of the 36 year old structure suggest that salt corrosion of the steel reinforcement in the bridge deck may have caused the accident. Nonetheless, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering has warned that further incidents could happen if Canada does not invest CA$ 125 billion (US$ 110 billion).

The society’s past president Saeed Mirza has been quoted as saying,“if we do not properly maintain infrastructure, this will happen again. Surveys [of these structures] are 10 to 15 years old and the deficit between the money available for maintenance and the money needed is about CA$ 125 billion (US$ 110 billion).”

Other similar structures in Canada were closed following the collapse and all, except one, have now been reopened. The remaining bridge was found to be identical to the one over Highway 19 in terms of both age and construction, and has been turned into a ‘laboratory’ for the investigation.

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