Quebec Conservative Party (QCP) members marched on the Quebec Bridge on Monday to demand more funding for its maintenance.

At around 11 a.m., the hundred or so activists gathered planned to march from the parking lot of the Quebec Aquarium to Lévis via the pedestrian walkway of the Quebec Bridge, the party said.

QCP leader Éric Duhaime said that "the bridge is falling into disrepair" and that the aim of the march was to see "with our own eyes the state of disrepair" of the infrastructure.

In his opinion, the money earmarked for the Quebec City tramway should instead be invested in maintaining the bridge.

"There are a lot of people who are opposed to the tramway, and we should be taking that money and investing it first and foremost in maintaining our first link between Quebec City and Lévis, which is the Quebec bridge," said Duhaime in an interview with The Canadian Press shortly before the start of the demonstration.

He added that his party also wanted to build a third link to the east, "precisely to speed up traffic between our two shores."

The third link project was abandoned by the Legault government.


The Quebec Bridge, a railway bridge owned by Canadian National (CN), has lanes for cars, the first of which was opened some 10 years after the bridge was commissioned in 1929. Expansions were made in the 1950s and 1990s.

"The Quebec government rents the space to allow cars to pass, so it's its responsibility (to maintain the bridge)," said Duhaime. "We also know that the decrepit state of the bridge is partly due to erosion caused by salt that has been spread for years by the Ministry of Transport."

The QCP leader is critical of the fact that, for a decade, the federal, provincial and CN governments have been passing the buck when it comes to the investments needed to maintain the infrastructure.

A federal takeover of the structure has already been discussed. According to Radio-Canada, François Legault's government blocked this agreement last year.

In autumn 2022, CN and Quebec finally renewed their lease agreement.

Without indicating how much money would be needed to save the bridge today, Duhaime pointed out that several estimates have been made in the past, including one in 2015 in which $400 million was required to repaint the infrastructure.

The latest inspection report on the century-old bridge, published on the Ministry of Transport website in 2021, states that "according to the general condition index, the bridge requires repairs."

The document, which runs to more than 600 pages, lists the "items requiring attention," which include corrosion of certain parts.

The march organized by the QCP also marks the launch of the party's campaign in the Jean-Talon riding for the by-election on October 2. The Conservative candidate is Jesse Robitaille.

Duhaime pointed out that mobility issues will be an important topic in the Jean-Talon riding, which includes part of the Sainte-Foy--Sillery--Cap-Rouge borough. Robitaille will be campaigning against the tramway project. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 4, 2023.