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
"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
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
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
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
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
SOURCE: Government of Canada
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