Troubled bridge over calmer waters

Troubled bridge over calmer waters

The old bridge in Quebec City that crosses the St. Lawrence River, commonly known as the “Pont de Québec” has been around for a long time and is showing its age like all old things do and there is some concern that it may not be safe anymore.

The bridge was designed and built by a firm from Pennsylvania, and took almost 20 years to complete. Construction started in Pont_de_Quebec1901 and was finally finished in 1917. Part of the reason for the delay in completion was the collapse of the bridge during construction in 1907 where 88 workers lost their lives. The middle trust or “Cantilever” was and still is, the longest in the world causing the Canadian Government to proclaim it a National Historic Site in 1995. Some people even refer to it as the eighth wonder of the world unofficially.

The bridge is not only for cars but also supports the passenger and freight railway line from Quebec City to the rest of Canada, both east and west and this is what prompted the concern. With overpasses crumbling one after another in the province, the latest being Jan. 13th of this year, there was concern that the famous bridge may be weakening and could probably use some refurbishing to make sure it is safe for both cars and trains.

After a year of haggling and dealing an agreement was finally reached this week between the city and the Federal Government to attack the problem and to inspect and reinforce, if and where necessary, all aspects of the structure. The bridge is owned and operated by the Federal Government and they will foot the bill for the undertaking. The last ten years had been spent painting and sandblasting the exterior as a cosmetic makeover but there are still concerns that the supports themselves may need some reinforcement.

The Pierre Laporte Bridge, a suspension bridge built in 1971 beside the old one, is the more popular route for most motorists and has been deemed perfectly safe making repairs to the old one less of an urgency, which is why the new contract will take a period of 10 years to complete. As for the trains, well you’ll just have to cross your fingers.
…………………………………………………………. Staff Writer

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