NEWS

Ottawa launches Champlain replacement study

01/23/2012 09:33 EST | Updated 03/24/2012 05:12 EDT

The federal government says it will launch an environmental assessment into a new bridge to replace the Champlain.

Federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel said a call for tenders will go out Tuesday, and the study should take about two years to complete.

Lebel said Ottawa is moving forward as quickly as possible with its plans for a new bridge that will replace the aging Champlain span.

"We have a great team at Transport Canada. I don't need to push them, but I'm creating timelines because the public wants this done as soon as possible," said Lebel.

Lebel said the assessment will include public consultations.

Opposition wants more details

The government would not provide a timeline for building a new bridge.

The Opposition NDP said key details are missing, and Ottawa isn't moving fast enough.

NDP deputy critic for transport Jamie Nicholls said commuters need to know what's in store.

"We don't have public consultations, we don't have the design of the bridge, we have nothing, it's a ghost bridge, not even the name of the bridge is clear yet," said Nicholls.

Nicholls said the government is hiding its plans.

"[Lebel] needs to stop working in the dark and start working with the public and with the opposition to move this dossier forward."

Ottawa set on toll bridge

Lebel said those who use the new bridge will pay a toll to cross it.

Nicholls said many commuters are against the idea of a toll to pay for the bridge.

Paul Leduc, the mayor of Brossard, Que., said what's key is the bridge project moving forward.

"We will have the timetable later, so we will have a new bridge, that's what's important," said Leduc.

Leduc said he has full faith in Ottawa's plan.

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