Report on the sunk Pierre-Laporte bridge to the media: the MTQ launches an investigation

Quebec commissioned an outside firm to find out why a report showing the significant wear and tear on the suspension lines of the Pierre-Laporte bridge ended up in the media rather than on the office of the Minister of Transport.

Report on the sunk Pierre-Laporte bridge to the media: the MTQ launches an investigation

Quebec commissioned an outside firm to find out why a report showing the significant wear and tear on the suspension lines of the Pierre-Laporte bridge ended up in the media rather than on the office of the Minister of Transport.

• Read also: Emergency contract for work on the Pierre-Laporte bridge

The Ministère des Transports (MTQ) has just awarded a mutual agreement contract worth $75,237 to the firm Arup to retrace the course of events, from the production of the report to its disclosure in the media.

According to this document sent to the MTQ on April 21, the wear of the vertical cables that support the structure of the bridge would be such that it would be necessary to replace all of them as soon as possible.

However, this report was not made public by the MTQ, and the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, was not informed of its conclusions before they were broadcast in a Radio-Canada report.

The MTQ has just awarded an $8 million emergency contract without a call for tenders to the civil engineering company Pomerleau to consolidate 28 lines most likely to deteriorate.

Concern among engineers

On the side of the Professional Association of Engineers of the Government of Quebec (APIGQ), we describe the whole situation as “deplorable”, and we hope that the investigation will not only be used to find who disclosed the information.

“We want to make sure that the mandate given is impartial,” said Andy Guyaz, secretary-treasurer at APIGQ. That there is an investigation is understandable, but we do not know the full mandate of the firm.

Engineers represented by APIGQ will also be met in the coming days, underlined Mr. Guyaz, adding that he hopes that the engineers will not bear the brunt of the investigation. “There are a lot of people working at the MTQ,” he slipped.

Communication

Finally, this whole situation is a sign that there are serious communication problems between the MTQ and the minister's office, believes Andy Guyaz.

“Of course, there is someone who decided to sink this report. What is deplorable is that the high authorities of the ministry were aware of the existence of the report, and that they decided to do nothing.

The office of Transport Minister François Bonnardel declined to comment on the case.

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