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Construction of replacement Ile-Aux-Tourtes bridge officially underway

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Construction of the new Île-aux-Tourtes bridge has officially started, Quebec's Transport Ministry announced on Monday.

The $2.3 billion bridge will replace the existing structure built in 1965, which is approaching the end of its life.

In fact, the bridge's aging infrastructure has led to the closure of all but two lanes, one in either direction. The closures, ongoing since Dec. 2, have been the source of some serious headaches for commuters travelling between Vaudreuil-Dorion and the Island of Montreal.

The plan is for the existing bridge to come down once its replacement is built -- and that work is finally underway, according to the Quebec government.

"Obtaining environmental authorizations from the federal government at the end of November marked a significant turning point in this major project for the region," reads a Monday press release from the Transport Ministry.

"The initial work consists of building a jetty in the form of riprap in the water, followed by pile drilling."

A jetty is a structure that extends into the water, while a riprap is a layer of rocky materials used to protect a structure or shoreline from erosion.

The new bridge will have three traffic lanes in either direction, as well as a two-way "multi-use" path.

While it's expected to open to traffic in 2026, the ministry says completion of the entire project, including the dismantling of the old bridge, is expected to wrap up in 2030.

RESTRICTING HEAVY TRUCKS

Alas, 2026 is still years away. With traffic on the existing bridge reduced to just two lanes, a few measures are in place to ease congestion on the roads.

In "the next few days," the Transport Ministry says heavy trucks will be prohibited from using the right lane of Highway 20 during rush hour (eastbound from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and westbound from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.).

Truckers are asked to use Highway 30 instead, where tolls have been temporarily lifted.

"The exact start date of this ban will be announced at a later date, and a follow-up will be carried out to assess its impact," Monday's news release states.

Other measures already underway include free bus fare for the 7, 10, 35, 91 and 40-express routes and free train service on Exo's 11 Vaudreuil-Hudson line.

In addition, to help keep traffic moving, buses can use the shoulder on Highway 40 westbound (towards Vaudreuil-Dorion) for 1.5 kilometres between Frédéric-Back Street and Des Anciens-Combattants Boulevard.

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