VERDUN, QC, Oct. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today officially broke ground for the île des Sœurs temporary causeway-bridge.
"I am pleased to mark the start of construction on the île des Sœurs temporary causeway-bridge which kicks off the work on the new bridge for the St. Lawrence," said Minister Lebel. "Building the new bridge continues to be a priority for the Government of Canada. The project is progressing well, and we are meeting deadlines."
Work on the temporary causeway-bridge is expected to be completed by 2015. This bypass bridge will be in place until the île des Sœurs Bridge has been permanently replaced as part of the construction of the new bridge for the St Lawrence.
Minister Lebel took the opportunity to provide an update on the new bridge for the St Lawrence project. He announced that the final environmental assessment report had been posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's website at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents-eng.cfm?evaluation=65574&type=1. The completion of this report is a key step in the project.
Minister Lebel also reported that in response to the recommendations made by the engineering firm Buckland & Taylor as part of the Champlain Bridge surveillance and maintenance program, The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) is currently carrying out work to ensure that the bridge remains safe. He also stated that the Government of Canada is accelerating construction of the new bridge.
"Safety is a priority for our government, and that is why JCCBI is making necessary repairs to the Champlain Bridge.," said Minister Lebel. "We will allocate the necessary resources to accelerate the Champlain Bridge maintenance program to ensure that it continues to be safe until the new bridge is in service. In addition, we are developing an action plan to accelerate the in-service date of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence, originally planned for 2021."
On October 5, 2011, the Government of Canada announced that it would be building new infrastructure to replace the Champlain Bridge. This bridge is one of the busiest in Canada, with $20 billion worth of international trade crossing it every year. The Champlain Bridge is a crucial corridor for the regional economy and for Canada as a whole. The project also meets the objectives of Canada's gateway strategies.
Canada's Economic Action Plan promotes new opportunities for growth, job creation and long-term prosperity. Thanks to the Government of Canada's leadership and our strong economic and financial fundamentals, the Canadian economy has recovered from the global recession better than most other industrialized countries. Canada has been a leader among G-7 countries throughout the recovery, with more than a million net new jobs created since July 2009.
Further information on the temporary causeway-bridge and the environmental assessment, as well as an update on the new bridge for the St. Lawrence project, can be found in the attached backgrounders.
To learn more about the new bridge for the St. Lawrence, please visit www.tc.gc.ca/nbfsl.
Temporary Causeway-Bridge between Montreal and île des Sœurs
The île des Sœurs Bridge is a key link between Montreal's main highways and the Champlain Bridge, a critical trade corridor between Canada and the United States.
On July 12, 2012, Minister Lebel announced that a temporary causeway-bridge connecting île des Sœurs to Montreal would be built close to the current île des Sœurs Bridge, in order to ensure the efficient flow of people and goods both before and during the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence. The causeway-bridge will be built at a cost of $92.2 million using funds announced in Budget 2013.
The causeway-bridge will be built from two abutments that encroach on the water and form two short causeways connected to each other by a standard bridge made up of two piers. By targeting a narrow section of the river for the new structure, the selected design will reduce encroachment on the water and thus lessen the environmental impacts.
Construction of the temporary causeway-bridge will allow the team responsible for the new bridge for the St. Lawrence to determine the precise requirements for the new permanent structure so that it will meet the current and future needs of all users. It is the most effective way to guarantee safety and minimize disruptions and traffic delays.
This temporary bypass bridge between île des Sœurs and Montreal will have a total of seven lanes, three in each direction and one reserved for buses, as well as a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. The transit lane will allow the reserved peak hour bus lane on the Champlain Bridge to be extended during peak times as far as the Bonaventure Expressway. The causeway-bridge will be in place until the île des Sœurs Bridge has been permanently replaced as part of the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence.
Work on the temporary causeway-bridge is expected be completed by 2015, under the direction of The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated. The current île des Sœurs Bridge will then be closed and demolished.
Update on the New Bridge for the St. Lawrence Project
The final environmental assessment screening report was posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry on October 2, 2013. More than 200 mitigation measures were identified and will be taken into account in the project design. A number of technical studies will also be conducted in the coming years.
Transport Canada, with support from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is continuing to make progress on the business case, which will be submitted to Minister Lebel this Fall.
Following a number of meetings over the past few months with stakeholders as well as domestic and international experts, Transport Canada and the City of Montreal have produced a joint report and will make recommendations to their respective organizations. The final report on the approach to ensure architectural quality will be submitted to Minister Lebel in October 2013 for the government's decision.
Many service contracts with consultants are underway or will be awarded in the coming months, for geotechnical studies, 3D terrain modelling and land surveying services, and the drafting of technical requirements for intelligent transportation systems, electrical systems and lighting.
Accelerated opening of the new bridge
The Government of Canada is developing an accelerated schedule for construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence. An update on the revised schedule will be provided at a later date.
Environmental assessment: new bridge for the St. Lawrence
The environmental assessment for the new bridge for the St. Lawrence project began on January 22, 2012. This process predicts the environmental effects of the project before it is carried out.
The environmental assessment:
- identifies possible adverse environmental effects;
- proposes measures to mitigate these adverse environmental effects;
- identifies potential adverse environmental effects that would remain even after the implementation of the mitigation measures; and
- contains follow-up programs to verify the accuracy of the environmental assessment and the effectiveness of the mitigation measures.
The environmental assessment for the new bridge for the St. Lawrence was conducted in two stages. A description of the project and the environment were provided in the first report, which was publicly available on November 16, 2012. A second report was then published on April 2, 2013 describing the environmental effects of the project and recommending mitigation measures. These two reports are consolidated into the final report, called the "screening report", which is signed by the responsible authorities involved in the environmental assessment, in this case, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada.
Effects and mitigation measures
The environmental assessment contains over 200 measures to mitigate the effects of the project on the biophysical components of the environment and the quality of life of people living near the proposed project. The federal government will ensure that all measures identified in the report to minimize the project's impact on the environment and nearby residents are implemented.
As part of the environmental assessment, two series of open houses were held in the Montreal area in December 2012 and April 2013. This was an opportunity for the public to meet with environmental specialists and learn about the different aspects of the environmental assessment. With over 1,000 attendees, this series of open houses enabled citizens to speak directly with project authorities.
In addition, the new bridge for the St. Lawrence team also met several times with external stakeholders such as representatives of surrounding municipalities, the Government of Quebec, non-governmental organisations, and the Mohawk community of Kahnawake.
The public was also invited to submit its concerns and suggestions in writing during three comment periods as well as at the open houses. The first and second parts of the environmental assessment reports contain a synthesis of all the comments submitted as well as responsible authorities' responses to each comment. The complete comments were also published in separate reports available in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry.
Overall, the comments received demonstrated general satisfaction with the environmental assessment. Most of the comments dealt with the importance of minimizing the impact on air quality, the sound environment, and traffic flow during the work. These concerns were taken into account in preparation of the final screening report, and several mitigation measures were developed to address them.
Overall, the comments received from the public made it possible to improve various aspects of the environmental assessment.
Throughout the next steps of the project, and when and where needed, additional environmental studies will be carried out to detail the environmental effects and refine the mitigation measures. Transport Canada will continue the dialogue established with the different stakeholders.
SOURCE: Government of Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and
Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development
Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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