Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel announced Thursday that the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge — linking the western tip of the island of Montreal to Vaudreuil-Dorion in the Montérégie — will partially reopen.
As of 5 a.m. on Friday, one lane in each direction will be open to traffic on the bridge. Emergency vehicles, school buses and public transit will have priority access.
Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon welcomed the news.
“I’m very, very happy,” he said. “Right now it’s only very good news because not only we’re going to allow cars and trucks … but it’s going to be OK too for buses, school buses, for transportation and for commuters.”
The bridge has been fully closed for a week, causing headaches for the more than 80,000 commuters who use the span daily.
The shutdown also prompted some area schools to cancel classes, while others moved to online learning.
Bonnardel ordered the emergency closure of the 56-year-old bridge last Thursday for the safety of its users after engineers discovered damaged reinforcement rods within the structure.
Traffic mitigation measures put in place last week, including waiving the toll on Highway 30 and free commuter train service on the exo1 Vaudreuil-Hudson line will remain in place until the span completely reopens.
Repair work is advancing faster than anticipated, which officials say allows for a partial reopening earlier than planned.
The bridge was originally scheduled to reopen on Monday.
Despite an early reopening, Junior Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau urged those who could to continue working from home or to use public transit.
“There will still be congestion,” she said.
Bonnardel, for his part, stressed that the timetable remains unchanged in regards to a complete reopening.
Under the ministry’s plan, two lanes will be open during peak hours in the direction with the most traffic and one in the opposite direction as of June 7
On June 14, two lanes will be open on both sides with a complete reopening of three lanes in each direction expected by June 21.