Champlain Bridge Consultations:
The Board of Trade informs Minister Lebel of the business community’s priorities
Montréal, October 31, 2011 – Taking part in the consultations on the new Champlain Bridge project organized by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Denis Lebel, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has expressed the metropolitan business community’s expectations with regard to this matter.
“The construction of a new Champlain Bridge in under 10 years is of paramount concern to the business community in the metropolitan region. A few engineering firms consulted by the Board of Trade believe that it is possible to construct a new bridge within 5 to 6 years if no obstacles of a political or administrative nature arise to slow down the work. We have asked Minister Lebel to establish a project office for the Champlain Bridge, which would coordinate all of the work with Transport Québec and all other actors concerned, so that preparatory work can be started immediately,” stated the President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Mr. Michel Leblanc.
“Given that it is the busiest bridge in Canada, over which more than 20 billion dollars of goods cross each year, and that close to 200,000 people use it daily, it will be imperative to maintain the flow of traffic on the Champlain Bridge and its access roads throughout the entire course of the work. Mitigation measures will have to reflect the importance of the project. The metropolitan region suffered great inconvenience related to reduced traffic flow last summer, and we cannot permit the situation to continue for 10 years,” added Mr. Leblanc.
“This meeting also allowed the Board of Trade to insist to Minister Lebel that, at a minimum, the next bridge should maintain the current traffic capacity for cars and trucks, that is, three lanes open at all times in both directions. The new bridge should also provide for two reserved bus lanes and a surface for a light rail system,” continued Mr. Leblanc.
“Concerning financing, the Board of Trade expressed its support for the use of a toll on the condition that it in no way slows down traffic, that it is allocated to financing the bridge and its maintenance, and that the rate be stable and predictable. We of course insisted that the new bridge be more durable than the current one so as not to go through a similar emergency situation again in 50 years, and that it be constructed in such a way as to contribute positively to the city’s brand image with a design that is commensurate with the talent of our creators,” concluded Michel Leblanc.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514-871-4000, extension 4015