Montreal

Quebec wants federal help for Champlain Bridge

Quebec officials are looking for a 'clear signal' from Ottawa on the future of Montreal's crumbling Champlain Bridge.
The Champlain Bridge is Canada's busiest water span. (Canadian Press)

Quebec officials are looking for a 'clear signal' from Ottawa on the future of Montreal's crumbling Champlain Bridge.

Mayors, ministers and Quebec's premier concluded that much after a short summit in Montreal Thursday to discuss the state of the city's alarmingly decrepit road network.

Premier Jean Charest said the province has tough decisions to make about its infrastructure budget, but it can't go at it alone, and needs federal support, especially for the Champlain.

"Now we want to reiterate, together, loud and clear a very direct and simple message to the federal government – send a clear signal regarding the future of the Champlain Bridge," Charest said after the summit.

The Champlain Bridge, Canada's busiest water span, falls under federal jurisdiction.

"We need a clear message that includes public transit on the Champlain Bridge. It's not the first time we express this - but let's hope the federal government doesn't interpret this message as an attack on the fed. We all need clear signals."

The Champlain Bridge is considered a critical economic artery for cross-border shipping, facilitating more than $20 billion in international trade annually.

To date, federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel has only said the government is studying all options, including a new bridge or alternative tunnel.

But recent engineering reports say the 49-year-old bridge is at risk of collapse and must be replaced soon.

With files from Canadian Press

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