Only 10% of carriers affected by mass bridge ban: Transport Quebec

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MONTREAL, Que. — Only about 10% of trucks in Quebec will be affected by the new law that says overloaded trucks are no longer permitted to cross 135 bridges, overpasses and ramps in Quebec deemed questionable by the Quebec Transport Department, according to a report in The Gazette.

Forbidden from crossing the 135 structures are trucks with a licence to carry heavy machinery and other single-load items such as Hydro-Quebec generators, the report says. Large tractor-trailers will have to reduce their loads by two tonnes and semis pulling two trailers will have to reduce loads by between 3.5 and 5 tonnes, depending on the type of trailer, according to The Gazette.

Included on the list are eight overpasses in Montreal (five of them on highways 13, 19, 25, 520 and 720) and three on Highway 10 near Magog. For the full list of 135 structures click here.

The list of structures targeted for special inspection was released yesterday after the Quebec Trucking Association (QTA) met with senior department officials and demanded to receive advance notice of any shutdowns or load limitations on specific roadways.

The QTA is warning that the new temporary weight restrictions will negatively affect the local economy, noting that both the industry and the consumer will feel the repercussions. QTA president Marc Cadieux has said that despite the minor load reductions, rerouting trucks will undoubtedly add to staff and fuel costs.

Though Transport Quebec officials have stressed the restrictions will affect only 10% of truck traffic, Cadieux told The Gazette he estimates the measures will affect 15% to 100%, depending on the company.

The Quebec Transport Department had previously refused to make the list available to the public, claiming its inspection of the 135 structures is not an indication they are unsafe. Officials have also noted that structures may be added to or removed from the list as the investigation progresses.

The Transport Department targeted the 135 structures after experts for the Johnson commission warned that concrete slab structures similar to the de la Concorde Blvd. overpass in Laval that collapsed Sept. 30, 2006, killing five people, could be unsafe because they lack sufficient steel reinforcement.

— With files from The Gazette

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