The Quebec government has pledged $16 million for the reconstruction of Lac-Mégantic's devastated downtown, after the July 6 train derailment and explosion that claimed the lives of 47 people and destroyed dozens of buildings.

At a news conference in Lac-Mégantic today, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said  the rebuilding would include the construction of a bridge across the Chaudière River and a memorial park in commemoration of the disaster.

The mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Colette Roy-Laroche, said construction work will begin September 15, with plans to have a new commercial area functioning by the end of December.

"With our resources alone we would not be able to achieve what we had in mind," said Roy-Laroche.

Roy-Laroche said the financial assistance will help the approximately 100 businesses affected by the disaster relocate to a expanded commercial area in the city's so-called green-zone.

The mayor said the red-zone—the area most contaminated by the explosion—would likely not be accessible to the public until June 2014, nearly one year after the disaster.

Marois said the $16 million contribution would be part of the $60 million initially promised by the provincial government in July.