Cyclists who use the reserved bike lane on the Victoria Bridge are breathing a sigh of relief.
On Saturday, a new path was opened to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and south shore communities like Saint-Lambert.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Corporation told Global News that during an inspection of that portion of the bridge, structural problems were found which made it unsafe. Jean Drapeau Park, the entity responsible for the bike path leading to the bridge, announced in May that the portion of the lane on the bridge would be closed until further notice.
That meant cyclists had to find alternate routes to get to and from Montreal.
“You had to go to Jacques Cartier Bridge or Champlain Bridge,” cyclist Miso Smilgec explained as he headed back from Montreal.
He said the detour could add up to half an hour to commute times.
“It was a hell of a detour,” laughed Jean-Claude David, another cyclist who claims he uses the route up to 30 times a year.
The closure prompted Saint-Lambert District Councillor Loïc Blancquaert to launch a petition to get the Seaway Corporation, as well as Jean Drapeau Park authorities, to find a solution.
Blancquaert said that the bike lane is important for residents, many of whom work in downtown Montreal.
“Even now with the COVID,” he noted, “it’s even more important because public transportation is very limited.”
It seems the petition paid off. On Saturday, a lane on the bridge for motor vehicles next to the bike path was opened for cyclists and pedestrians only.
Drapeau Park officials say the bypass will remain open until work on the bridge portion of the bike path is carried out.