Canadian Consulting Engineer

Montreal has 24 bridges deemed in critical condition

September 10, 2013
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

A report from the City of Montreal's engineers was issued September 4, finding nearly 24 structures were in "critical" need of repair.

A report from the City of Montreal’s engineers was issued September 4, finding nearly 24 structures were in “critical” need of repair.

The report covered 589 bridges, tunnels and overpasses and scored them in five categories: good, deteriorated, mediocre, deficient, and critical.

Of the 589, the 24 “critical” ones scored 80 or more points, indicating that several elements of the structure were “partially functional” and “an intervention in the short time is generally necessary” (translation from French).

Another 31 were found “deficient,” scoring between 40 and 80 points. In these, “a certain number of the structural elements are functional” and “the materials showed some deficient elements.”

The majority of the structures that were surveyed are over 40 years old, with 56 per cent constructed before 1970.

In terms of taking remedial actions, the report indicated that its priorities are to develop internal expertise for this purpose. It noted that the city needs to spend around $50 million a year on repairs, while the budget for 2014 to 2016 allots only $27 million for 2014.

In a CBC report, Richard Deschamps, the city executive member in charge of infrastructure, said that there was no need for alarm. He said structures found to be critical may only need to have weight restrictions or a few repairs. “If we had a structure that was really not safe, the City of Montreal wouldn’t hesitate to close it,” he said.

Another person interviewed in the report, however, disagreed. Saeed Mirza, a McGill University professor emeritus of civil engineering, said “I think the word ‘critical’ should raise a red flag with anyone,” and he recalled the collapse of the Concorde overpass.

Among the 24 structures found to be “critical” are the Jolicoeur Bridge at Canal de l’Aqueduc, the bridge at Boulevard de Maisonneuve Ouest and Boulevard Cavendish, and the bridge at Avenue Van Horne and Rue Clark.

To read the City of Montreal report (French only), click here.


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