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What if the best scenario for a new link in the National Capital was a bridge, at Saint-Romuald, followed by a tunnel to Charest Boulevard in Quebec? This is the idea put forward by Bruno Massicotte, the engineer who carried out the first studies on the third link, and Daniel Toutant, the person responsible for building the Highway 25 bridge which connects Laval to Montreal.
For months, they explored suitable locations for the construction of the structure, then thought about the type of infrastructure that could best meet the needs of the Capitale-Nationale, after the third link project had been abandoned and then revived by the Legault government.
The sketches made suggest the beginning of the route at Chemin des Îles, in Lévis, in the Saint-Romuald sector. An ideal location, according to them, since the industrial vocation of this artery does not imply any residential expropriation.
In addition, Chemin des Îles is located at the junction of Highway 20. It already has four lanes, with space to widen the interchange and insert incentive parking.
The cable-stayed bridge with a span of approximately 700 meters would have six lanes, three in each direction. “Such a work, designed with aesthetic considerations in mind, would become a signature for the Capitale-Nationale region,” they wrote in an open letter. One of the routes could be used for public transportation.
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A bridge-tunnel could connect Lévis to Quebec.
All about the 3rd Quebec-Lévis link
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All about the 3rd Quebec-Lévis link
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In their letter, the two engineers explain why the topography is ideal in this location: it is notably because trucks could circulate on the infrastructure, unlike the under-river tunnel set aside by the Legault government because that the slope was too steep for heavy goods vehicles.
On the Quebec side, the bridge would become a tunnel, dug into the rock, up to Charest Boulevard. Mr. Toutant and Mr. Massicotte have not determined the precise location where the tunnel would begin on their plans, but it would be realistic to think that it could be located near Anse au Foulon.
Inside the tunnel, engineers suggest building stations on either side of the structure's tracks. High-speed elevators would allow users to reach the surface in front of the Saint-Charles-Garnier college, located on René-Lévesque Boulevard.
“This vertical link would be located halfway between Parliament Hill and the Sainte-Foy employment center, while being close to Laval University, thus optimizing travel times for users,” we can read in their letter.
Daniel Toutant highlights the effectiveness of such elevators all over the world. The one he’s proposing would be about 200 feet tall.
“Bus transportation would do very well to connect us to the east-west link,” he adds, at a time when the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has the mandate to evaluate “a structuring project” for Quebec City.
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The work would be a cable-stayed bridge with a span of approximately 700 meters and would count six lanes, three in each direction.
“The primary goal is to draw attention to safety,” continues Daniel Toutant. According to him and Bruno Massicotte, we should no longer talk about a third link in Quebec, but rather a second link, since they do not consider the Quebec bridge as an adequate structure for traffic between the two banks.
Not only does the infrastructure not allow the passage of trucks, but the lanes are not numerous enough and too narrow. “The old Quebec bridge certainly does not have the capacity to absorb the additional traffic that would result from even a partial closure of the Pierre-Laporte bridge, which leads us to refer to a second link rather than to a third link. »
They write that a prolonged partial or total closure of the Pierre-Laporte bridge “would very likely endanger public safety and economic activity in Quebec […] We can no longer rule out a major accident or a natural disaster. Indeed, the Quebec region is in an active seismic zone with a high probability of major earthquakes. »
The Pierre-Laporte bridge and the structures located in the same axis were not designed according to these criteria and could therefore be seriously damaged if a major earthquake were to occur, thus leaving the two banks without a functional link for the services of 'emergency. Added to the seismic risk is the wear and tear of materials: steel structures are subject to breakage associated with repeated traffic cycles, not to mention corrosion and other damage.
A quote from Extract from Bruno's open letter Massicotte and Daniel Toutant
Bruno Massicotte, who is also a full professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, maintains that “there have already been major earthquakes that have occurred in eastern Quebec and the period of The recurrence of these earthquakes is approximately 100 to 125 years. These earthquakes are highly likely to recur. What we don't know is when. »
The argument of ridership has always been put forward to justify the third link project in Quebec. According to Daniel Toutant, security is however a factor that should have been considered well before. We only have one viable link, he said, referring to the Pierre-Laporte bridge. “A link which could prove catastrophic if it were to be closed for a period of a week, a month, or even a year,” he insists.
How long can we wait to build a new bridge in the National Capital? We must not delay too much, pleads Mr. Massicotte. Doing a project like that takes at least ten years of work. It’s ten years of studies to ensure that it is well received collectively, that the bridge is in the right place and that it meets needs, he answers.
The engineers conclude their open letter by stating that “the present proposal seems to us to be both elegant, economical and technically realistic. Apart from the choice of the site, which will have to be the subject of in-depth studies, the need to build a new bridge in the Quebec region is in no doubt in our eyes. »
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