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Roger Dorton Enters Order of Canada

Dr. Roger Dorton, a retired employee of MTO, was recently honored with membership in the Order of Canada in recognition of his unique contributions in the field of bridge engineering. One of Canada's most prominent civil engineers, Dr. Dorton is renowned for his expertise in bridge design. He retired from the ministry in 1993 after a distinguished 21-year service first as an outstanding research engineer and later as manager of the ministry's Structural Office (today's Bridge Office).

Dr. Dorton graduated in civil engineering from the University of Nottingham in 1951. After research work in suspension bridges, he obtained his PhD from the same university in 1954. He started his working life in Canada in 1956 when he joined a Montreal firm, at a time when long-span bridge construction was starting in Canada with the development of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Dr. Dorton was responsible for innovative designs of several major seaway bridges with spans exceeding 210 meters, including the Champlain Bridge in Montreal. In 1965, he became a partner at a firm that won a competition for 19 canal bridges at Expo '67 and was responsible for designing a number of landmark bridges, including the A. Murray Mackay Suspension Bridge in Halifax. This bridge was the first in North America to use an orthotropic steel deck design.

In 1972, Dr. Dorton joined the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario as Principal Research Officer before eventually becoming its "Chief Bridge Engineer" as manager of the Structural Office. Dr. Dorton's legacy with MTO centers on his pioneering work in bringing limit state philosophy to bridge design. He was instrumental in the development of North America's first limit state bridge design code, the Ontario Highway Bridge Design Code (OHBDC). The OHBDC is widely regarded as a world-class document and has been used as a model for other national bridge codes around the world, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design Bridge Design Specifications, as well as new bridge codes developed in Australia and New Zealand. The recently published Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code is also modeled on the Ontario Highway Bridge Design Code.

Beyond the bridge code, Dr. Dorton was responsible for new bridge and rehabilitation designs, with a construction value of $40 million per year. Some of the most significant projects designed in the Structural Office during this period include: the Twelve Mile Creek/Hwy 406 bridges in St. Catharines, with two continuous precast segmental concrete bridges; Madawaska River Bridge in Arnprior, a three-span continuous steel bridge with a main span of 122 meters; the Burlington Bay Skyway twinning project; and the Hwy 400/407 Interchange, with four levels of prestressed concrete bridges.

After retiring from MTO, Dr. Dorton joined a Vancouver firm where he worked on a number of important bridges, including the second Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia. He has also lectured internationally on bridge engineering and has shared his knowledge with many developing countries.

The Order of Canada is the latest of many prestigious honors Dr. Dorton has received for his work. In 2002, he was awarded the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Bridge Engineering, and has received numerous honors from AASHTO, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and the Association of Professional Engineers, Ontario, among others. He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Queen's University and the University of Waterloo. Dr. Dorton is a fellow of the CSCE, the American Concrete Institute, the Engineering Institute of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Dorton is a significant part of MTO's past, and his contributions continue to make a lasting impression in North America's highway infrastructure.