Thursday, June 23, 2011


Driving across Canada, road works slowed us up at regular intervals, particularly in Ontario and Quebec. While hold-ups are frustrating, I noticed that most of them occurred on bridges. Driving over a bridge is a bit like flying—no firm ground underneath if anything goes wrong.

With bridge collapses occurring in Montreal in recent years, and sudden closure of the Mercier Bridge due to gusset plate corrosion in the last few days, my daughter says she is afraid driving the overpasses in Montreal.

Rust in a steel structure, especially in a humid environment is always a hazard, and apart from replacement, remedial work is difficult. Concrete bridges fail because concrete, not according to specification, shrinks and allows moisture to attack the steel reinforcing. The reinforcing bars may not be placed correctly or even missing, reducing ability to support the structure.

Some bridges have a forest of scaffolding holding up the ends of bridges restricting the flow through. Some overpasses have rusting reinforcing steel showing where concrete has spalled off, and some patching looks amateurish—perhaps temporary? But, despite the delays, I’m only too happy to see remedial work being done on road bridges across the country.

It makes me think of the repeated and failed systems of thought put in place to replace Christianity. I recall feeling a greater sense of security growing up in England during the Second World War. Western society then was a Christian culture; unlike today when what we believe is an chaotic smorgasbord of self generated Ideas.

It struck me that these decaying bridges are symbols of the bridges of life. Too often, we ignore the warning s that life is out of control until it collapses. And again, too often, it is patched up with the same tired old ideas that caused the breakdown in the first place.

Bridges back to a secure life, even in a world of chaos can only be found in a return to our creator. He has provided all that is necessary to renew life in the sacrifice of His Son for our failure. I don’t understand why his offer is continually rejected for the concocted ideas of our own .

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