The Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ) says in a legal document that it “cannot assure users that Quebec’s road network is safe” if the strike by state engineers continues. It calls for the expansion of essential services to ensure the completion of the 4,315 inspections of bridges and structures scheduled on its schedule in 2022.

This document, as well as about fifteen affidavits from the general management of the MTQ, was produced in support of a request for the expansion of the essential services provided by its engineers despite the outbreak of the general strike by the Association professionnelle des Quebec Government Engineers (APIGQ), April 22.

The MTQ is asking the Administrative Labor Tribunal (TAT) to add to these services “all the tasks of engineers referred to in the Structure Inspection Manual”. It also calls for the continuation of engineering activities (plans, design, monitoring, etc.) related to 56 road projects being prepared or carried out in all regions of Quebec.

As with the general inspections of structures, the MTQ says that these 56 projects “must be recognized as essential services because of the risks to the safety of the population in the event of their interruption or non-mobilization”. To establish this list of projects, the Ministry claims to have “relyed solely on the criterion of the safety of users and the public”.

The list includes projects of widely varying size and complexity. In particular, there are repairs to major structures such as the Quebec Bridge and the Pierre-Laporte Bridge in the capital, the Laviolette Bridge in Trois-Rivières, or the Gédéon-Ouimet Bridge between Laval and Boisbriand. The MTQ has also included paving projects to eliminate ruts in the road, rail infrastructure work in the Gaspé or the performance of mandatory tests to ensure that the moving part of the new Gouin bridge is fully operational, on the river Richelieu, in Montérégie.

The MTQ is also asking for the continuation of the engineering work carried out by unionized engineers on two major projects that will not be started for a few years. The widening of Highway 50, in the Outaouais, and the construction of the new Île d’Orléans bridge are thus included in this list of projects which “must start as planned, failing which the safety of users will be compromised” .

“The MTQ is not able to guarantee that the structures under its responsibility are safe for the population if it cannot maintain the projects identified [in] this application during the 2022 season”, insists the Ministry again.

Of the 56 projects considered essential, 10 are located in the greater Montreal area (see next tab). They mainly concern large structures at the end of their useful life, such as the Mercier and Île-aux-Tourtes bridges, or whose “structural integrity is in question and constitutes a risk to the safety of users”, as stated by the MTQ regarding the Saint-Pierre interchange that connects the Mercier Bridge to Highway 20, in the West Island of Montreal.

“The closure of this sector is not possible,” says a sworn statement from the Direction générale des projets de Montréal. [It] must remain open to traffic to allow mobility, including that of emergency transportation and other services to and from the Kahnawake Reserve.”

The Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge, which requires “structural reinforcement work on certain beams”, and the Honoré-Mercier Bridge, which has been the subject of continuous work for 15 years, are also on the list of construction sites which must be maintained despite the engineers’ strike. The Ministry makes no secret of the consequences, in either case.

“In the event that the MTQ can no longer provide these interventions, the bridge will have to be closed, which would then compromise access by residents […] to essential services, including emergency transportation,” according to the legal document.

This type of comment is rare from the Ministère des Transports du Québec, which tends to be reassuring about the state of its infrastructures and to minimize the safety risks that structural deficiencies, such as those of “columns that support the traffic lanes of the Ville-Marie tunnel”.

Normally, it is quite unlikely that the MTQ would reveal that in this tunnel, “the structural integrity of the slab/column assembly requires rapid intervention […] as identified in the notice of the Direction générale des structures. Given the urgency, this work cannot be postponed without compromising the safety of users and the public.”

In affidavits filed with the Essential Services Division of the Administrative Labor Tribunal of Quebec, the MTQ cites 10 contracts and major projects underway or to come in the Montreal metropolitan area which, according to him, must be added to the list. essential services provided by government engineers, because of their impact on the safety of the public or road users. Except for a few words, the excerpts below are taken verbatim from these affidavits.

“[The project] aims to eliminate the structural deficiencies of the columns that support the traffic lanes of the Ville-Marie tunnel. The structural integrity of the slab/column assembly requires rapid intervention, as identified in the notice from the Direction générale des structures. The closure of this major infrastructure in downtown Montreal would cause detours and significant congestion on the local network with major impacts, particularly on the response time of emergency services downtown and in the area surrounding the hospital. Saint Luke. Given the urgency and the risk to the safety of users and the public, this work cannot therefore be postponed without compromising the safety of users and the public. »

“This project concerns continuous and recurring interventions by the MTQ (including in particular the reinforcement of beams with carbon fibers) which aim to keep the Saint-Pierre interchange at the intersection of Highway 20 and Route 138 in Montreal safe. , because the structural integrity of this infrastructure is in question and constitutes a risk to the safety of users. Interventions on this site must be able to be maintained as planned since the safety of the infrastructure could be compromised. Closing this sector is not possible and it must remain open to traffic to allow mobility, including that of emergency transportation and other services to and from the Kahnawake reserve. »

“[The project] concerns continuous and recurring interventions by the MTQ which aim to keep the Honoré-Mercier bridges safe and open to traffic to allow mobility, in particular that of emergency transport and other public services between Montreal and the reserve of Kahnawake. Interventions on this site must continue continuously and cannot be interrupted, since the safety of the infrastructure could be compromised. Moreover, in the event that the MTQ can no longer provide these interventions, the bridge will have to be closed, which would then compromise access by residents of the Kahnawake reserve to essential services, in particular emergency transportation. »

“The Île-aux-Tourtes bridge is subject to continuous inspections due to its significant state of degradation in order to quickly identify if interventions are necessary. Interventions on this site must be carried out on request, since the safety of the infrastructure could be compromised.

“The second construction contract consists of carrying out structural reinforcement work on certain beams of the bridge, which are essential in order to preserve its integrity. Interventions on this site must continue continuously and cannot be interrupted, since the safety of the infrastructure could be compromised. In the event that the MTQ can no longer provide these interventions, the bridge will have to be closed, which would then compromise access by residents of Vaudreuil and Senneville to essential services, including emergency transportation. »

“[The project] aims to keep the Gédéon-Ouimet bridge safe and open to traffic to allow mobility, including that of emergency transportation. This bridge is a major link on the Autoroute des Laurentides, the closure of which would cause detours and significant congestion on the local network with major impacts, particularly on the response time of emergency services in the Sainte-Rose and Sainte-Rose sectors. -Therese. The work covers the repair of the joints, the repair of the slabs and the paving of the bridge, the current state of the running surface of which constitutes a significant risk to the safety of users. »

“[This project] concerns interventions at the request of the MTQ in the event of anomalies detected on structures of the road network in the metropolitan region of Montreal. The nature of these interventions is therefore unplanned. In the case of this project, the engineers in charge of monitoring and design activities assigned to the contracts must be available on demand as needed to ensure the management of urgent work requests. »

“The purpose of this work is to improve safety on the route of Highway 50. The interruption of the preparation work would have a major impact on the planning of the project and the execution of the work, which must be carried out in a specific order and according to the windows of opportunity available. This sector of Highway 50 [between L’Ange-Gardien and Mirabel] is a particularly accident-prone area which had been the subject of a recommendation for securing by the coroner following the death of a road user. Given the scope of the work to be done, the schedule must absolutely be respected in order to implement these recommendations. »

“The paving and asphalting work on Highway 15 between the Gédéon-Ouimet bridge and Saint-Elzéar boulevard [in Laval] as well as the Médéric-Martin bridge are necessary in order to temporarily secure the roadway which is in very poor condition, awaiting major repairs to come. This work must be done before winter to ensure road safety.

“If the work were to be delayed and could not be carried out, it is expected that the safety of Highway 15 cannot be ensured and it may have to be closed, which would divert traffic towards the Pie-IX bridge. , three of which are already closed due to major repairs. Such a situation would create an extremely serious risk of congestion which would have a decisive impact on the response time of the emergency services. »

Note: In this file, the MTQ is requesting both that an engineer in charge of design activities be available to complete the preparation of a call for tenders scheduled for April 2022, as well as the availability of engineers in charge of activities in design and the presence of a supervising engineer for the mobilization of the site, scheduled for July 2022.

“This work includes the dismantling of the beams and slabs of the bridge in order to replace them. Three out of six [traffic] lanes are currently closed. In the event of closure, this site must be secured before being closed in order to ensure the safety of the closed lanes where the sites are in progress to avoid accidents and to maintain safety on the traffic lanes. »

https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/2022-05-11/greve-des-ingenieurs/le-mtq-craint-de-ne-pouvoir-garantir-la-securite-du-reseau-routier.php

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