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The purchase of the Quebec bridge from CN is “an excellent deal,” assures Ottawa

Photo: Francis Vachon Le Devoir The Quebec Bridge seen from the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, March 27, 2024.

Without wanting to specify how much the purchase of the Quebec bridge cost, federal Minister Jean-Yves Duclos promises that the transaction concluded with the Canadian National Railway Company, CN, constitutes a “ excellent deal“.

“You will see to what extent”, added Minister Duclos, now all the suspense Thursday over the bill that Canadian taxpayers will have to cover to upgrade the first link between Quebec and Lévis, inaugurated in 1919.

To any questions about the purchase price – or about the renovations that the bridge needs – Jean-Yves Duclos limited himself to repeating that “the details” of the agreement with CN will be announced later. Is the Quebec Bridge still in good condition ? “It is in good condition. Then we assure you that it will be in better condition in a few years,” indicated the head of Public Services and Procurement of the Trudeau government.

« It is the most emblematic bridge in the country. […] This bridge is a major strategic infrastructure over which we give control to the people of the Quebec region,” continued Jean-Yves Duclos, ending his press scrum three minutes after starting it.< /p>

The file for the acquisition of the Quebec bridge by the federal government had been stalling for around thirty years and an agreement was promised by the Trudeau government. CN owned this metal structure which allows its trains to cross the St. Lawrence River, as do approximately 35,000 cars and 300 buses per day, in addition to pedestrians and cyclists. However, its condition is deteriorating – and in particular its paintwork.

Ottawa and the CN did not agree on who should pay the bill for its restoration , costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Justin Trudeau's government notably appointed a negotiator in this matter in 2019. Repairs to the apron, for their part, are the responsibility of the government of Quebec.

Since Quebec has the right of first refusal for the purchase of the bridge, a copy of the agreement between Ottawa and CN reached the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault, on Wednesday. The Quebec government will let the transaction take place. “It doesn’t change much for us. Otherwise there will be a new owner [of the bridge] with whom we will deal for the future,” specified Minister Guilbault.

The Quebec Bridge is the longest cantilever bridge in the world. It was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1995.

With Isabelle Porter

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116