Beginning in August 2015, Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) will undertake an 18-month, $150-million project to re-deck the suspended spans of the Macdonald Bridge.This significant technical achievement has been dubbed The Big Lift, and it is only the second time in history the suspended spans of a bridge have been replaced at night and in use during the day. The impact will be significant—up to 48,000 vehicles, 700 cyclists and 750 pedestrians cross the Bridge every day.

The purpose of this research is threefold:

  1. to understand the socioeconomic implications of restricting access to the Macdonald Bridge for extended periods
  2. to make recommendations about how communities can coordinate more effectively when infrastructure is disabled for extended periods; and
  3. to make a contribution to the risk governance literature, examining competing risk rationales and risk tolerance and acceptance, in particular. We believe this a powerful learning opportunity for those studying the fuzzy concept of ‘Smart City.’

We have assembled an international multi-disciplinary team of risk specialists, with expertise in risk perception, risk modeling, and institutional responses to risk. The first stages of the research, which benchmark risk perception, are already in progress, including a 1,500-person survey, focus groups and semi-structured interviews with CI operators.

This work is supported by an existing SSHRC Partnership Development Grant.