Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

Inexplicable delays to restore a covered bridge

Open in full screen mode

The Prud'homme Bridge, an elaborate Town type bridge, was built in 1918. It is the last covered bridge in the MRC des Laurentides.

  • René Saint-Louis (View profile)René Saint-Louis

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

Residents of the MRC des Laurentians are concerned about the future of the last covered bridge in the region. The Prud'homme Bridge, located in the municipality of Brébeuf very close to Mont-Tremblant, has been closed to all traffic, including pedestrians, since 2019.

The bridge is listed in the Directory of Cultural Heritage of Quebec. It says it was built in 1918, in just six weeks, at a cost of $6,000. It was originally called the Armistice Bridge to mark the end of the First World War.

It was renamed Pont Prud'homme in 1957 in honor of Alphonse Prud'homme, a volunteer who, for 40 years, spread snow on the bridge in winter to allow passage sleds.

Although it was repaired and painted red in 1997, it was not until 2017 that the municipality began to implement the Ministry of Transport of Quebec so that it can be restored, says the mayor of Brébeuf and prefect of the MRC des Laurentides, Marc L'Heureux.

When will the work be carried out to save the last heritage covered bridge of the MRC des Laurentides? transition-colors parent-peer-hover-focus:text-deepSea700 dark:parent-peer-hover-focus:text-deepSea400″>When will the work be done to save the last heritage covered bridge in the MRC des Laurentides?


Listen to the audio (When will the work be done to save the last heritage covered bridge in the MRC des Laurentides?. 7 minutes 52 seconds)

In 2019, the bridge was urgently closed to all traffic. As the file did not seem to be progressing at the MTQ, citizens came together to form the SOS Pont Prud'homme Committee.

LoadingQuebec submits a new offer to teachers, rejected by the FSE-CSQ

ELSELL ON INFO: Quebec submits a new offer to teachers, rejected by the FSE-CSQ

The initiative seemed to have borne fruit, because a few months later the government announced stabilization work for 2022 and restoration work for 2023.

Open in full screen mode

In order to stabilize the bridge, a metal frame was installed during the work which lasted one week in 2022.

The stabilization work did take place in 2022. It lasted a week, but the restoration work planned for the summer of 2023 is still pending.

Mayor L'Heureux believes that at the rate things are going, they will not take place before 2025.

The preliminary plans will be ready at the end of December, but will not be presented to us until the spring. So, it is from there that they will go to search for financing and call for tenders, but that is preliminary. In my opinion, if we have a call for tenders at the end of 2024, it would be ideal, to start work in spring 2025. But unless there is a quick turnaround, it would surprise me that that be done before 2025.

A quote from Marc L'Heureux, mayor of Brébeuf and prefect of the MRC des Laurentides

Open in full screen mode

Residents of Brébeuf celebrated the 105th anniversary of the Prud Bridge man in November 2023.

This delay exasperates the one who introduces herself as the neighbor and guardian of the bridge, Réjeanne Prud'homme. The bridge is named after her grandfather, and it was she who set up the SOS Pont Prud'homme Committee.

When we look in the archives of covered bridges in Quebec, there are bridges that have been swept away by ice jams that occur. Here, as recently as last spring, there was an ice jam of branches and trees that clung to the bridge, she says.

The municipal councilor of Brébeuf, Marie-Josée Lebel, is also worried. We see underneath [the bridge], there are small pieces that have burst because trees passed underneath. He is fragile. One hundred and five years, yes, but 105 years in wood, in Quebec, it's exceptional that it's there, but we have to move quickly.

The member for the Labelle constituency, CAQ member Chantale Jeannotte, does not understand what justifies such long delays. The ministry tells us that this is a priority, and although it proves it. Because after four years [of closing the bridge], honestly, I have a hard time believing that this is a priority. But we will fight this fight to the end and I am behind the community 100%.

That's too much bureaucracy there! Let's see, there is someone who is not doing his job at the ministry. It can't be.

A quote from Chantale Jeannotte, MP for Labelle

Open in full screen mode

The Prud'homme covered bridge, in the municipality of Brébeuf, during a strong flood of the Diable River.

In a response sent by email, the Direction générale des Laurentides–Lanaudière of the MTQ underlines that the bridge was closed preventively in 2019 due to the flooding of the Diable River which caused instability damage to the foundation units . He recognizes that the work carried out quickly in 2022 was a stopgap solution for stabilizing the bridge and preventing it from moving during a future spring flood.

Regarding the restoration work, the ministry writes that certain aspects of legal scope, as well as the environmental aspect, had an impact on the schedule. Therefore, it is still too early to specify the schedule as well as the costs of the project.

Since the bridge will likely be elevated and is located on agricultural land, neighbors wondered whether authorization from the Commission for the Protection of Agricultural Land was required to widen the right-of-way. However, the CPTAQ affirms that no request to this effect was made. The neighbors have not received a request from the MTQ to buy a few meters of land from them to widen the right of way of the bridge.

The Grand Mont-Tremblant Chamber of Commerce also denounces the situation. The vice-president of the Chamber, Pascal de Bellefeuille, would like to recall the importance of the Prud'homme bridge in the region's tourist offering.

Open in full screen mode

Tourists take photos in front of the Prud'homme bridge in August 2019.

There is great economic value for all neighboring communities and therefore, it is a bridge to protect, restore and rehabilitate value in the regional destination, here in the MRC des Laurentides. Moreover, it is listed on the Route des Belles Histoires des Pays-D'en Haut.

The bridge, underlines Pascal de Bellefeuille, features in the lists of things to see in the Laurentians. Canoe and paddleboard descents on the Diable River end there, a dock offers a launching place for kayakers, picnic tables are installed there, the circuit The Trans-Québec snowmobile route passes there and important cycling routes used it.

  • René Saint-Louis (View profile)René Saint-LouisFollow

By admin

Related Post