The government of quebec has made them happy today on the North Shore by re-launching the project of construction of a bridge on the Saguenay river to connect the municipalities of Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac.
François Bonnardel, minister of Transport, and Jonatan Julien, minister of Energy and minister responsible for the area of the North Shore, have announced this morning the launch of a call for tender for “carrying out the review of a opportunity study of the bridge project” during a press conference in Baie-Comeau.
The study, which will be revised is the one carried out by the Company of the bridge on the Saguenay in 2015. It was the project to $ 450 million $ with a bridge only two lanes, instead of four as in the previous analyses.
The government study is the most recent, in 2009, came with a construction cost total of the order of 1 to 1.4 billion $ in including the bridge, the bridge approaches and the new road infrastructure.
“We’re really excited. We have had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Bonnardel, and he has reassured in many ways. No one will fight more in front of a wall of unbelief (opposite to our study). This is a radical change of approach. We take hope really,” said Marc Gilbert, the president of the Society of the bridge on the Saguenay.
“The department had confirmed last fall that our study was technically and financially viable. They said over $ 300 million for the bridge (2015), the department has said it is now 330. It is in the order of magnitude. To two lanes, as is proposed, with a tunnel, we’re talking about an overall cost of 550 to us $ 600 million, ” adds Mr Gilbert.
The revision of the study should begin as early as next January.
“We’re going to be on the liaison committee and we have the assurance of the minister that all that can be done to accelerate (the study) will be done. We are well pleased”, says Dr. Gilbert, who estimates that by the end of 2022 the review would already have identified the main directions of the project.
“It is so much a folder as it works for a long time. During the press conference, a person of the Coalition 138 and pulled out a newspaper article of the 1950s in which it wrote that the priority for the development of the North Shore, it is a bridge!”, launched the mayor of Baie-Comeau, Yves Montigny.
In addition to the impact of a bridge on the tourism industry, Mr. Montigny has also mentioned the impact on the businesses of its region. “The people in the company Boisaco that does business at Sacred Heart, all ready to Tadoussac, say the crosses, or worse a detour to the Saguenay, makes them lose millions of $.”
He is also convinced that this time, the study will not lead to a dead end. “The community wants a bridge to the extent of the region, with a crossing pedestrian or bicycle path and two paths that meet, such as the 138. We do not want a bridge high enough to let pass the Queen Mary II, a huge and disproportionate,” he said in reference to the 2009 study.
Yves Montigny is also looking forward to the change of direction of the government. “During the last election campaign, François Legault had given some hope. Subsequently (fall 2019), he had sown quite a stir by saying that a bridge was unrealistic. I had recalled that the Place Ville-Marie (Montreal) in the central arch of the dam, Manic 5. All the world was unrealistic a dam like him. But today, we could not imagine Québec without these large hydro-electric dams. And it would not be a province as rich.”
“This update will allow you to have the portrait the most up to date in the sector. The awarding of this mandate will also contribute to the gradual recovery of the economy,” said minister Bonnardel in a press release.
“In addition to allowing us to have answers to our questions and those of the citizens of the North Shore, we will be able to make informed decisions, and this, in the best interest of the citizens here and elsewhere in Quebec”, the minister added Julien in the same press release.
Newfoundland and 138
And if the bridge project has re-surfaced in this time, it may also be that he becomes an essential element of a plan even bigger.
“Mr. Bonnardel also told us that his government is committed to developing with the federal and Newfoundland and labrador, an economic corridor with the 138. The idea we like and the bridge is part of this corridor. It can change the whole dynamic,” said Marc Gilbert.
Newfoundland would like to construct a tunnel to connect with the Labrador and the mainland.
Incidentally this afternoon, the tandem Bonnardel-Julien has also made the announcement in Sept-Îles of a call for tenders for studies to extend 138 of The Roman Tête-à-la-Baleine and La Tabatière in Vieux-Fort. A section of the 138 goes from Old Fort to Blanc-Sablon, border municipality that is connected to the Labrador.
“The challenge is this major corridor of trade-Newfoundland-Labrador-Quebec. It gives full of business opportunities and a mass of Canadians. Have to look hard here to find someone against the bridge!”, said Yves Montigny.
The North Shore includes approximately 95 000 inhabitants, compared to 520 000 for Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 2018 and 2019, two new ferries were put into service between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac.
The cost of the two ships, initially planned at 125 million $, would have eventually exceeded over $300 million.