PQ blasts Charest's handling of infrastructure question

The leader of the Parti Québécois Friday blasted the Liberal government's handling of infrastructure safety and public confidence following the collapse last Sunday of a huge beam on the Ville Marie Expressway in downtown Montreal.

Ville-Marie Tunnel could re-open as early as Saturday: Transport Minister

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois speaks to reporters outside the Ville-Marie Tunnel Friday. She insisted the only way to restore public confidence is to call a public inquiry into the Quebec construction industry. (CBC)

The leader of the Parti Québécois Friday blasted the Liberal government's handling of infrastructure safety and public confidence following the collapse last Sunday of a huge beam on the Ville Marie Expressway in downtown Montreal.

Pauline Marois said neither Premier Jean Charest nor Transport Minister Sam Hamad has succeeded in bolstering public confidence in the province's road network.

She also criticized the government for relying too heavily on private companies to inspect Quebec's roads, bridges and tunnels.

Marois insists the only way to restore public confidence is to call a public inquiry into the Quebec construction industry.

Meanwhile, Hamad announced Friday that the Ville-Marie Tunnel could open as early as Saturday. It would be well in time for the return to the city of 150,000 construction workers this weekend, the end of their traditional annual holiday.

A total of 21 pillars are shoring up the walls of the expressway overpass, according to Junior Transport Minister Anne-Marie Leclerc.

She said the work was "a precautionary measure."

Both Hamad and Leclerc warned people to be careful how they interpret a 2008 engineers' report on deficiencies in the expressway overpass and tunnel, saying the recommendations in the report had been followed and the work was carried out.

Hamad said that, in spite of the comments of a number of experts, the incident on Sunday remained "an unfortunate accident" that continues to be investigated by his department.