Obstacles are to be expected as the holidays approach on the Pierre-Laporte bridge since the Ministry of Transport (MTQ) must replace two cables before winter which have experienced “accelerated degradation”.
The MTQ noted in October that two suspension cables, one on the east side and another on the west side, had deteriorated. “It was decided that it was better to replace them quickly before winter,” explains spokesperson Émilie Lord.
The new cables are currently in production. Their installation will be launched without delay as soon as they are received, scheduled for mid-December, because “the accumulation of snow could greatly hinder the intervention,” said Ms. Lord.
The Pierre-Laporte Bridge, which turned 51 this month, has 160 lines. These are the vertical rods interwoven with steel wires that connect the bridge deck to its two immense supporting cables.
More than ten have already had to be replaced since 2015. This is an expected situation, as they are aging.
The Professional Association of Engineers of the Government of Quebec (APIGQ) took up the matter publicly on Thursday, when it initiated pressure tactics in the context of negotiations with the government.
The union has assured the MTQ that its night and weekend strike will have no impact on the work, but regrets its haste and accuses it of acting late.
“In our opinion, it should not be something that happens to us as a surprise”, criticized the president of the APIGQ, Marc-André Martin, seeing in it the reflection of the “deficit of expertise” in the function. public that worries its organization.
“This kind of infrastructure there, we must know it inside out and this is not the case at present, you have proof of it,” he maintains.
According to the information communicated to him, the two lines are in “very poor condition”.
The MTQ refutes the idea that it would have become aware of the problem late, stressing that the intervention is part of the maintenance, metallization and security work that is carried out continuously on the bridge.
He also certifies that the structure remains fully safe.
A temporary support was installed to support part of the deck load on the carrier cable, instead of the hangers. In addition, heavy trucks cannot use the right lane in each direction for a “balancing” issue.
Replacing the cables may cause other obstacles, such as closing one or two lanes per direction, for a few nights. They will be specified later.
The last Pierre-Laporte Bridge inspection report indicated that the structure is still in good general condition (high safety level of 92.9 out of 100). Several signs of degradation were however noted, such as corrosion, cracks and deformation in certain places, which do not compromise the safety of users. We also noted some broken strands under the guide plates of some lines.
Commenting on this file during an impromptu press release, the mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, said he was “reassured” and had “confidence in the Ministry of Transport”.
– With the collaboration of Taïeb Moalla