Armed Forces' quick work bridges the gap for stranded residents on Ile Verte
Published Sunday, May 14, 2017 2:49PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 14, 2017 6:58PM EDT
For several families on the small island of Ile Verte, the rest of the world has been a very long way away for the past eight days but thanks to a new, temporary bridge, that’s about to change.
Flooding has closed a portion of the main road on the island, which is home to 22 families. That road connects to the only bridge on or off, which in turn connects residents to Laval. For residents of the homes east of that closure, getting their cars to the bridge has been impossible.
“We badly need it, obviously. The only disappointment is it takes long,” said Francoise Gortan. “We try to understand it’s not easy, but in the meantime, we’re stuck here.”
Gortan said that while her house has luckily sustained little damage, her visually impaired husband has been stuck at home and neither of them have been able to get to work.
“Now, he’s stuck here. It’s depressing for him because he can’t watch TV,” she said.
Since Friday, engineers from the Canadian Armed Forces have worked to build a bridge that will cross a small inlet of water, connecting those on the east to the still-open road on the western portion of the island that has access to the bridge.
“This is an acrow-type bridge that we build in our line of communications, in our rear areas in the military, so we have familiarity with it,” said Chief Warrant Office Carl Kletke. “We can build it in several days, which in military terms is a long time. In this instance, we’re ensuring the security and being able to get people across.”
The decision to build the bridge was made on Wednesday and the next day, materials began arriving from New Jersey. More than 100 troops were sent to begin construction on Friday.
While that construction might be slow by military standards, it’s extremely quick for civilians, said engineering services assistant director Denis Gervais.
“Normally a bridge takes years to build because of all the bureaucracy,” he said. “We were able to get it going quickly because of the city’s state of emergency.”