The reopening of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge came three days earlier than the Quebec Transport Minister announced, and in time for the Friday morning rush hour traffic.
Drivers using the span no longer need to take a lengthy detour to the Galipeault Bridge linking Highway 20 on and off the island.
Welcome news for the tens of thousands of drivers who, prior to the pandemic, used the bridge on a daily basis.
But there are still major structural problems requiring repair work and regular maintenance.
“They’ve been working on it for so many years,” retired worker Gilles Daoust, who lives in Vaudreuil, told Global News.
The bridge is slated to be replaced by 2027 with a new one, but that is still years late, according to the mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion.
“Construction should have been done ten years ago, of course,” Guy Pilon, told Global News.
The two-kilometre span is considered a critical link, not only to access the Island of Montreal, but also for commercial trade between Quebec, Ontario and the U.S., according to Pilon.
“More than a road for commuters, it’s a link for the commerce of the province of Quebec,” Pilon said.
Transport Quebec ordered an emergency closing of the bridge on May 20 after engineers noticed structural issues that compromised the safety of its users.
Repair work has been done since but the bridge has outlived its life span.
“The main reason is the deterioration of the materials and the corrosion,” Lofti Guizani, a structural engineering professor at L’École de technologie supérieure (ETS), told Global News.
The bridge first opened to traffic in 1965.