Pierre Laporte Bridge: The replacement of the lines will be accelerated

Transport Minister François Bonnardel considered it “unacceptable” not to have been informed earlier of the existence of a worrying report on the state of the suspension cables of the Pierre-Laporte bridge and ordered their replacement to be speeded up.

• Also read: The Pierre Laporte Bridge is falling into disrepair

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According to an expert report sent April 21 to managers of the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ), the contents of which were published yesterday by Radio-Canada, the wear and tear on the vertical cables that support the bridge’s structure would be so great that they should all be replaced as soon as possible.

Of the 160 lines on the Pierre Laporte Bridge, including the 50e Anniversary was celebrated two years ago, fifteen have already been replaced since 2015, two of them last December.

According to the report received from the broadcast detectionunpublished by the MTQ, laboratory pull tests on one of the most recently replaced cables would have shown it to have less than half its original resistance, unheard of.

“I find it unacceptable that I was not informed about this report earlier,” François Bonnardel responded in a written statement. […] I find it unacceptable that the information did not reach the Cabinet before yesterday.

Accelerate the pace

While the bridge remains “safe at this point,” the minister ordered the all-line replacement plan, which was planned for 15 years, to be accelerated.

Mr Bonnardel wanted to reassure himself about the security of the infrastructure used by 125,000 vehicles every day, 9% of which are heavy vehicles: “If we had the slightest doubt, we would not hesitate to close it to get the job done” , said he said.

“Starting this summer, we will consolidate around 40 lines that are aging more quickly due to corrosion,” the minister underscored.

After reviewing the Quebec government’s Electronic Tendering System (SEAO), Stellaire Construction was awarded a $14.5 million contract on May 26 to perform this “priority work.”

Over the past five years, more than $95 million has been spent on structural inspections and various expertises, MTQ reported in a press release.

labor conflict

These new revelations about the advanced state of disrepair of the 1970-built Pierre Laporte Bridge come as government engineers have been on intermittent strikes since April 22.

In early May, the Professional Association of Quebec Government Engineers (APIGQ) publicly expressed its concerns about the structural integrity of the Quebec Bridge and the Pierre Laporte Bridge, a gesture immediately recognized by Ministers François Bonnardel and Sonia LeBel, who oversees the negotiations was denounced.

“Is it irresponsible to make the truth public, or is it responsible to hide it?” raised the President of APIGQ, Marc-André Martin.

In an interview with TVA Nouvelles, the union leader denied that he was at the origin of the report’s leak. “We don’t know who leaked the report,” said Mr Martin, who believes its content is “very worrying”.

Like the minister, he still considers the bridge to be “safe”. “Otherwise lanes would already be closed,” said Martin.

important for the economy

Former Liberal Minister of Transport Sam Hamad also finds it “unacceptable” that Mr Bonnardel was not made aware of the contents of the report earlier, given the importance of these files, including for the economic plan, for the Greater Quebec region.

“I don’t understand what happened. […] There is someone missing in the information chain,” commented Mr. Hamad, who suspects a link between these revelations and the industrial dispute between the government and its engineers.

“It’s coming out at a moment of negotiation, so we’re inclined to believe it,” he said on LCN’s airwaves.

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