The fast track to solidify 28 suspension lines of the Pierre-Laporte bridge

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The fast lane to solidify 28 suspension lines of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge

The Pierre-Laporte Bridge in summer

The Ministère des Transports weighed in on the accelerator by awarding an $8 million emergency contract, without a call for tenders, for work on 28 suspension lines on the Pierre-Laporte bridge.

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The civil engineering company Pomerleau obtained this contract by mutual agreement in order to consolidate lines considered to be more critical.

In total, 40 lines will be consolidated or completely replaced in 2022, according to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport, Nicolas Vigneault.

Through this contract, 28 more critical lines will be solidified. For the other lines that need to be replaced, a contract was awarded in June to Stellaire Construction, he says.

Stellaire must replace around twenty lines over the next three years, including some this year.

“There are some lines that are going to be replaced in 2022. How many exactly? We are in the planning phase of this work, which will take place in the fall. Until then, some lines will be consolidated.

— Nicolas Vigneault, spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport

Even if decisions are made quickly, the spokesperson ensures that the bridge is safe.

The lines and their condition in no way compromise the safety of the Pierre-Laporte bridge. This bridge is completely safe and users can travel on it without any problem, he insists.

Nicolas Vigneault, press relations officer for the Ministry of Transport

Mr. Vigneault believes that the strike by Quebec government engineers has forced the ministry to circumvent the traditional call for tenders, in order to reduce construction delays on the bridge, considered an essential service.

A statement rejected by the Professional Association of Engineers of the Government of Quebec even though it recognizes the urgency of the situation.

The replacement of the lines was already planned. The work granted urgently to Pomerleau should have been granted urgently last fall, laments Andy Guillère, secretary-treasurer of the association. We pushed a lot on our side to get the work done urgently.

“The essential services were signed in July 2021 and at the time the replacement of the bridge lines was never planned, never negotiated. It was just this spring that there were discussions about this and the ministry did not even know what to ask for as essential services. We were the ones who had to work hard to say what the MTQ's needs were. »

— Andy Guillère, Secretary-Treasurer of the Professional Association of Engineers of the Government of Quebec

Andy Guillère, secretary-treasurer of the Professional Association of Government Engineers of Quebec

Mr. Guillère also compares the management of the bridge file to the madhouse in the comic strip The 12 Labors of Asterix.

The mandate of the Ministère des Transports is to ensure that the road network [is in good condition], so that necessarily involves monitoring various structures, including obviously the Pierre-Laporte bridge, which is an essential structure. in Quebec, underlines the union spokesperson who hopes for a resolution of the conflict as of today.

“We have a agreement in principle. The result of the vote among [the union members] will come out at the end of the day. If a month-long strike did that on the Pierre-Laporte bridge, we can't imagine what will happen next if the conflict were to continue. »

— Andy Guillère, Secretary-Treasurer of the Professional Association of Government Engineers of Quebec

You can see visible steel wires that are broken on page 43 of the MTQ report.

Recall that last June, Radio-Canada revealed the existence of a report concluding that all the lines of the infrastructure had to be replaced as soon as possible because their bearing capacity was considerably reduced due to their age. .

Over the past 5 years, over $95 million has been spent on maintenance and inspection of the bridge.

Tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars will have to be invested to ensure the sustainability of the bridge over the next few years, admits Nicolas Vigneault.

Given the scope of the work, the ministry decided to entrust it to its major projects team.

Approximately 125,000 vehicles travel on the Pierre-Laporte Bridge every day.

With the collaboration of Marie-Pier Mercier

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