Government of Canada invests in improvements to Montreal bridges

    MONTREAL, Jan. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Christian Paradis,
Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced that the
Government of Canada is making important investments in Montreal bridges to
enhance the safety of commuters and stimulate the local economy.
    "Many Quebecers rely on these bridges daily to commute to work and return
home to their families," said Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird. "This
investment allows for faster commute times, promotes trade and tourism, and
boosts Quebec's economy."
    Minister Paradis announced that the federal government will contribute
$50 million to redeck the Honoré Mercier Bridge and $11 million to reconfigure
the access roads and ramps to the Champlain Bridge. The contribution for the
Honoré Mercier Bridge is added to $85 million granted to the project in 2006.
    "The Government of Canada is delivering real results to improve Canada's
infrastructure," said Minister Paradis. "This investment will help put people
to work, improve road safety and fuel economic growth."
    Rehabilitation of the Honoré Mercier Bridge is needed to ensure the
continued safety of users. Construction began this year and is scheduled to be
complete in 2010. Approximately 28 million vehicles use the bridge each year.
    The roads and ramps providing access to the Champlain Bridge interconnect
with the City of Montreal's road system. This project is being coordinated and
scheduled with the City of Montreal to ensure that work on one section is
complete before beginning the next. Work is scheduled to be complete by the
end of 2009. The Champlain Bridge is the busiest in Canada, with an estimated
58 million vehicles using it every year.

    A backgrounder with more information on the projects is attached.



    The Government of Canada is investing in redecking the Honoré Mercier
Bridge to ensure continued safety of users. The other project is the
reconfiguration of the Nuns' Island access to the Champlain Bridge to reduce
traffic congestion on existing access roads.
    As repairing the country's infrastructure is a priority for the Government
of Canada, the redecking project was granted the requested funding of $85
million in 2006. Replacing the deck of the Honoré Mercier Bridge will ensure
the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, extend the life of the
bridge and generate direct economic benefits for the Montreal region.
    While the original cost estimate for this project was based on the actual
costs of similar repairs made to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, an additional $50
million is required due to the unanticipated complexity of the work and higher
than expected inflation in construction costs. The new estimates reflect the
amount necessary to complete the redecking and are included in Budget 2008.
They bring the total federal contribution to  $135 million.
    The government's timely $11-million funding of the Nuns' Island roadway
development project is designed to accommodate the relocation of Bell Canada
headquarters and the construction of approximately  2,000 condominium units on
Nuns' Island, which are nearing completion. The new roadway configuration was
announced by the City of Montreal in spring 2007. Since it is not compatible
with Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated's current road
network, it is necessary to reconfigure roadways and modify the access and
exit ramps to Nuns' Island. This reconfiguration will ensure a seamless
integration of and compatibility with the new municipal roadways.
    Infrastructure is a good public policy for both the short and long term.
Investing in these two proposed projects is in line with the current
government priorities of repairing the country's infrastructure and
stimulating the economy. Public investments like this can boost job creation
now and help advance productivity in the future. These projects are expected
to employ thousands of construction workers, stimulate demand for steel and
other materials, and boost local economies. The resulting economic stimulus
would be geographically widespread.
    Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, a wholly owned
subsidiary of the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited, a Crown corporation in
the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Portfolio, is currently
undertaking two separate rehabilitation projects.
    Financial support for these initiatives is conditional on meeting all
federal funding requirements, including Treasury Board approval.

                                                               January 2009

For further information:

For further information: Chris Day, Press Secretary, Office of Transport
Minister John Baird, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Media Relations, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is online at
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