It will take until at least Saturday to repair the large hole in the Mercier bridge.

Repair crews spent Thursday analyzing the hole in the bridge deck, then deciding exactly how to fix the roadway of the 75-year-old structure.

"We're going to put [on]some steel plates and then repair," said Claude De Guise of the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Corporation. "The repair work is going to be done on Saturday morning."

The hole resulted in a close call for one driver, when his vehicle struck the 5-foot by 5-foot hole on the Highway 132 onramp to the bridge.

He lost control and hit a railing which was sent careening down to the ground.

While unhurt, his vehicle is a write-off.

The man called police and was met by Kahnawake Peacekeepers.

"The hole was approximately about five by five. It was a significant hole. It wasn't a new hole," said Warren White.

Asked if the hole was big enough for a car to fall through, White replied: "no, I don't think there was any danger of that but I'm sure it came as quite a shock to the driver that did have the accident."

Under construction

Officials say it looks like the hole was previously patched years ago, and the patchwork just gave way.

"Nobody really could foresee it," said Wayne Rice, of the Mohawk Bridge Consortium. "Concrete is concrete. You only know when it gives out when it gives out."

The Mercier Bridge's deck is in the midst of being replaced at a cost of $135 million, with the entire structure being reinforced and a bikeway added.

The complete overhaul of the 132 onramp will have to wait until the spring.

But Mohawk workers say they are concerned, especially about heavy truck traffic.

"Maybe they should think about reducing the truck traffic on this bridge in the meantime," said Rice. "I think that would be a very wise thing to do, or at least limit the weight of the trucks."