June 16, 2014 4:43 pm

Quebec’s transport minister: ‘We need a plan B for Champlain Bridge’

MONTREAL — Provincial transport officials voiced concern that a backup plan is not in place should something cause the Champlain Bridge to close in the next four years.

“Montreal is an island, we need to sit together and prepare for a worst-case scenario,” said Robert Poeti, the province’s transport minister.

A recent report by La Presse has noted that a closure on the bridge could back up traffic for 180 km.

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While the federal government is insisting that the bridge is structurally sound enough to last until its replacement is built, officials for the crown corporation that manages the Champlain and the Jacques-Cartier Bridges would not comment to Global News on Monday.

However, South Shore residents are particularly concerned.

“There’s always delays.”

“Something with the materials, or delays in construction. It’s not going to be finished in four years,” said Kathy St-Georges, a Longueuil resident.

The ageing bridge — Canada’s busiest — already seen its share of extreme stop-gap repairs.

In November workers constructed the so-called “super beam” after a crack was discovered on the bridge, closing off one of the lanes and jamming traffic.

 

READ MOREChamplain Bridge requires super beam – now down to one lane

The super beam was removed earlier this month after the bridge was buttressed with additional improvements.

Provincial officials are also concerned about the future of public transit on the bridge. Poeti said that he does not expect to get information about that scenario until 2015.

While Poeti is urging the public to be patient as the work is done, residents already have learned to describe the bridge emotionally.

“Impatient, angry, upset, every emotion goes through your mind,” said St-George.

“When you go on the bridge it’s like, ‘Oh my God.'”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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