The only road access to several communities on Quebec's north shore has been cut off after officials closed the bridge linking them to the rest of the province.

Provincial officials say the Touzel Bridge will remain closed for the coming days after an inspection Tuesday found a crack in the structure.

The bridge connects the Minganie region, home to about 6,500 people in 10 communities, to the rest of Quebec.

The shuttered span crosses the Sheldrake River and connects Sept-Îles to towns including Havre-Saint-Pierre.

The bridge on Highway 138, just over 1,000 kilometres northeast of Montreal, was closed abruptly Tuesday after the crack was noticed, and Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault says experts are determining the extent of the damage and how best to make repairs.

Employment Minister Kateri Champagne Jourdain, who represents the region, says health authorities are confident there is enough medication for the time being, and Guilbault says essential supplies are being sent by cargo plane from Montreal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2023.