A bridge that provides the only road access to several communities on Quebec's north shore will reopen next weekend after being abruptly closed this week due to a crack.

The Touzel Bridge on Highway 138, just over 1,000 kilometres northeast of Montreal, was closed Tuesday after the damage was noticed during a routine inspection.

The span crosses the Sheldrake River and connects Sept-Iles to towns including Havre-Saint-Pierre and others in the Minganie region, where about 6,500 people are spread out between 10 communities.

Transport Minister Genevieve Guilbault says after the Transport Department performed safety checks, it has been determined the bridge can be reopened to light vehicles starting the weekend of June 10-11.

Work to strengthen the bridge will begin Saturday.

The province has been using airlifts to bring essential goods to the region and to get people to hospital, and Guilbault says in a tweet that an air link will remain in effect for emergencies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 2, 2023.