Statement by Minister Lebel - new bridge for the St. Lawrence

OTTAWA, Nov. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - I wish to reiterate our government's hard work and commitment towards the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence.

The Champlain Bridge is one of the busiest in Canada. Beyond its role as a major trade corridor, the bridge represents the daily commute of thousands of users.

We are aware of the impact that closing a lane of the Champlain Bridge will have on Montreal-area residents. That is why the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) is cooperating fully with the Government of Quebec, the Agence métropolitaine de transport and the municipalities in order to implement solutions.

On October 5, 2011, I announced that the Champlain Bridge and the Nun's Island Bridge would be replaced by 2021. Since that time, a tremendous amount of hard work has been accomplished.

Numerous technical work contracts are already underway, including geotechnical analysis and ground characterization; the prefeasibility study for moving Hydro-Québec towers; 3D modelling and preparatory work for intelligent transportation systems, tolls and electrical and lighting systems.

To date, we have held some 60 meetings with Government of Quebec representatives, met with about 50 municipal representatives and had approximately 60 meetings with other organizations having an interest in the project. Furthermore, discussions have been held with the Mohawks of Kahnawake. This collaboration will continue for the duration of the project.

Clearly, we want to keep the public and the media informed of the progress we are making, and that is why we have hosted 12 open houses in Brossard, Verdun and on île des Soeurs. Transport Canada representatives have also taken part in nine major conferences since 2012 to provide explanations and updates to stakeholders.

Mass transit is a key element of the project. As this is provincial jurisdiction, the Government of Quebec informed us in June 2013 of its desire to implement a light rail system (LRT) on the future bridge for the St. Lawrence.

As for the financial assistance requested by the Government of Quebec, I would reiterate that mass transit initiatives are eligible for the new Building Canada Fund, and it will be up to the Quebec government to prioritize it, just as other provinces did in the previous plan.

I'd like to remind that the vast majority of the funds for infrastructure is spent on projects prioritized by provinces.

To that end, it should be noted that in the Major Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund, Quebec has chosen to only invest slightly more than 9 percent of funds in public transportation. This number is greatly inferior to provinces with similar needs.

The business case for the project, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, will be completed within a few weeks. This will represent another major step towards starting construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence as soon as possible.

Therefore, rest assured that our government is committed to delivering a new, reliable and safe bridge as quickly as possible.

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Marie-Josée Paquette
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel,
Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and
Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister of the
Economic Development Agency for the Regions of
Quebec, Ottawa

This statement may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.


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