Preliminary work on new Île-aux-Tourtes bridge begins

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Preliminary work begins on new Île-aux-Tourtes bridge begins
WATCH: There is good news for off-island drivers. Prep work began on Monday to rebuild the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge, a heavily used span located on the western tip of Montreal. But as Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, it might be too soon to rejoice just yet – Feb 27, 2023

Off-island commuters take note: preparatory work began Monday for the long-awaited rebuild of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge linking Montreal to Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Quebec’s Transport Ministry says crews will begin clearing forest and will be conducting geotechnical drilling operations at the site of the future bridge. Some public service equipment in the area will also be relocated on-site.

“We will be drilling on land, as well as in the water, and also we will clean the land and start mobilizing the construction site for the offices and moving the public utilities. It’s a good step,” said spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun.

It’s the first major step as the new bridge project gets underway, Bensadoun said.

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Construction of the new structure could cost $2 billion, according to La Presse.

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The Quebec government says it is currently in talks with multiple companies to take on the massive project.

A deal could be reached as early as this spring, according to the ministry.

“The public will see a huge difference in the next few months since we will be building the new bridge but we will continue to use the actual bridge as a mitigation measure,” Bensadoun said.

While glad to hear work has begun, Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon says the real importance is the end result.

“I think they want people to see that something is going on, but the fact is the real date is 2029. Whatever you see before will not improve the situation,” Pilon said.

In the meantime, there is repair work being done to the existing Île-aux-Tourtes bridge, which runs along Highway 40.

Since last December, the span is down to two open lanes in each direction — leaving users frustrated and stuck in traffic.

As of Monday, a new carpooling lane was added for drivers, taxis and buses.

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“It is a temporary measure. We are confident we will be able to reopen that in the next few weeks,” Bensadoun said.

Pilion said that he commends the solution but calls it short-term and says it is not a major help in getting traffic moving again.

He claims residents are retreating from the island due to the traffic headache.

“You are killing Montreal. It’s so difficult to go to the island of Montreal. People now don’t want to go on the island anymore,” Pilon said.

Authorities say police patrols will be boosted in the coming days to ensure drivers respect the reserved lanes.

The new bridge is set to be completed by the year 2029.

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