Flip­ping the switch

Lab in Ot­tawa tak­ing a look at how strong winds af­fect light poles on Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY DAVE STEWART dstew­art@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

A lab­o­ra­tory in Ot­tawa is study­ing the ef­fects of ex­treme wind on the Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge’s light poles.

It fol­lows dam­age caused by a win­ter storm in Fe­bru­ary where winds reached 180 km/h on the bridge, which is hur­ri­cane strength.

Those winds lit­er­ally sheared 10 light posts right off their base and into the Northum­ber­land Strait.

Michel Le Chasseur, gen­eral man­ager of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Bridge, says that they took down another 20 light posts that hadn’t snapped off but had been weak­ened by those winds.

“We have to look at the (wind) event it­self,’’ Le Chasseur said. “Those winds are the high­est ever on the bridge. We had never seen that.’’

He said pole fa­tigue isn’t to blame.

“So far it doesn’t look like it be­cause that’s the first thing we looked at.’’

All of the posts that blew off were lo­cated on the south side.

There are 310 street lights along the bridge’s 12.9 kilo­me­tre span.

All the lights have been fixed and the bridge has switched to LEDs.

“The light fix­tures are not as heavy (and) don’t have the same shape as the pre­vi­ous ones.’’

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