The three-year, $15-million project to repair the Seal IslandBridge — a vital link for Cape Breton motorists and industry –received honours from Lt.-Gov. Myra Freeman today, April 20. The Department of Transportation and Public Works shared theLieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence withconsultants CBCL Limited of Halifax for the major overhaul of theprovince’s third largest bridge. “This was a complex and challenging construction project that hasadded several decades to the useful life of this magnificentbridge,” said Transportation and Public Works Minister RonRussell. “Everyone involved in the planning and construction ofthis important project should be very proud of this award.” Forty years of wear and tear from traffic, and exposure to windand salt spray, necessitated a major overhaul of the Seal IslandBridge. The road deck needed complete replacement, and the steeltruss work needed reinforcement. “This project exemplified co-operation, with a high-tech designthat more than met expectations in terms of minimizing trafficdisruption,” said Alan Perry, president of CBCL Limited. “With aresourceful contractor, All Steel Coatings, and subcontractors,Strescon Limited and Marid Industries Limited, we were able tomeet stringent tolerance and quality requirements, and satisfy adepartment of transportation interested in applying newtechniques to affect improvements in the durability of NovaScotia’s highway infrastructure.” The bridge is a critical link in the province’s highway system,carrying more than 7,500 cars a day in peak periods. Closing itwould have created detours up to three hours long. Engineerssolved the problem by using precast concrete panels that could beplaced onto the bridge one at a time. The panels were cast at anoffsite plant under ideal conditions for quality control, thentrucked to the bridge and set in place with boom trucks. This technique allowed the bridge team to keep one lane open totraffic except for occasional, brief closures. A communicationsprogram kept motorists informed of expected bridge delays, andthe bridge team worked closely with fire, police, and ambulanceservices to ensure speedy crossings in emergencies. “That the majority of the work on this most complex and difficultbridge reconstruction project was carried out by Nova Scotiacompanies is a reflection of the engineering and constructionexcellence in our province,” said Mr. Russell. The bridge, which spans the Great Bras d’Or Channel between NewHarris and Boularderie Centre, was originally opened in 1961 aspart of the Trans-Canada Highway system.