February 17, 2020
The new river crossing at Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island is located about 76° N — or about 1520 km from the North Pole.
Infrastructure solutions from The AIL Group of Companies are becoming more prevalent in the North, but the recent installation of a 90′ Algonquin Modular Panel Bridge has reached an even greater height in the High Arctic. The new river crossing at Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island is located about 76° N — or about 1520 km from the North Pole. The single-lane rental bridge was used for construction-vehicle access in the first phase of a project to reconstruct a washed-out causeway.
In what turned out to be a memorable cross-cultural experience, our Technical Sales Representative for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Thomas Ritter, made the trip north to provide on-site assistance to the contractor, Englobe, and a crew of Ulukhaktok Inuit residents.
“On July 17, we were transported to the construction campsite by quads and even had to cross the river on them. The tent camp was equipped with fuel oil heaters, electrical service, Wi-Fi, showers, laundry and a great cook.”
Bridge system delivered on four Electra aircraft loads
Not long after they arrived and got accommodations organized, the first of seven Hercules aircraft landed at the airstrip, bringing Englobe’s construction machinery. The bridge system itself was delivered on four Electra aircraft loads.
The local crew had never installed a bridge like this before, but they assembled, advanced and cantilever-launched the span safely and successfully. Thomas was suitably impressed:
“These fellows took to the work required and were good students. They quickly showed their skills and, in the end, I would have these guys on a bridge-building crew any time! They love their land, their way of life and they shared many moments (life experiences, hunting stories and eating dried Arctic Char), but they mostly love to laugh! We had many funny moments together at dinner and coffee.”
The construction team staged an “official” ribbon-cutting on August 4, at which time Thomas was given the Inuit name, Ikagout Havakti, or Bridge Builder.
The bridge can be seen in the lower right of this image.
At Algonquin, we understand the unique requirements of building bridges in the North and our innovative solutions reflect that. Our lightweight and strong Modular Panel Bridges and Prefabricated Bridges are economical, resilient and sustainable for Northern construction projects of all types. Plus, they ship and install easily with local crews and equipment.