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Algonquin’s footbridges hold strong

With the recent collapse of a footbridge in Florida which resulted in the death of six people, how does the integrity of Algonquin’s many pedestrian crossings stack up?

According to Sabah Ali, a professor of construction and civil engineering at Algonquin, there is no possibility of the college’s footbridges collapsing.

“What happened in Florida actually happened during the construction period,” said Ali. “The construction period is a matter of quality control so the problem would be in the design, the material or the construction.”

After the structure passes this period, he said, it’s all about maintaining that quality. For Algonquin’s footbridge to collapse, it could no longer be a problem with design, material or construction; it’s now strictly a matter of maintenance.

“So if we maintain the good maintenance and routine, then we have no problems,” Ali assured. “There is no possibility of the footbridge collapsing like the one in Florida.”

Ali believes that even under severe conditions such as strong winds or seismic activity, Algonquin’s footbridges will hold.

“Normally such projects would be designed for a period of 50 to 100 years,” he said. “You’d go 100 years back, find the worst case scenario and build accordingly.”

So never be afraid to walk across any of the college’s many footbridges, Ali insists.

“Even if it has a fault of design, it won’t fall suddenly. Before anything, it’ll show signs like deflections, squeezing, cracks or unusual vibrations.

“So don’t worry.”

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