Of those structures flagged for needing immediate attention, 11 are in Montreal — and five of those are on the Turcot Interchange.
Still, Gaudreault said the inspections and repairs were a precaution, and the structures that were inspected are safe to travel on.
“I am telling citizens and motorists that the structures are safe,” he told Radio-Canada on Sunday.
Civil engineer Normand Tétreault told Radio-Canada that given the 605 inspections were done over such a short period of time, it’s likely that the work carried out for the 47 structures that were identified as needing immediate attention mainly consisted of removing loose pieces of concrete and making sure the roads were clear.
Better inspection during weather fluctuations
Last Monday, chunks of concrete fell off the Henri-Bourassa overpass near Hymus Boulevard onto the highway below, causing flat tires for some and a severely damaged hood and windshield for one car in particular.
No injuries were reported, but the Jan. 13 incident caused the complete closure of the westbound Highway 40 for several hours, resulting in major traffic delays.
Transport officials blamed the falling concrete on fluctuating weather and water that had seeped through the concrete.
“The weather contributes to the degradation of our infrastructures,” said Tétreault.
Gaudreault said Quebec’s aging infrastructure means the Transport Ministry has to change the way it operates when it comes to inspections and ensuring structures are safe.
From now on, additional safety precautions will be taken whenever there are rapid temperature changes.
The minister said the Quebec government has already earmarked $2.6 billion for road work in 2013-2015.
Quebec has 5,314 bridges and overpasses, and Montreal has 485. According to a Transport Ministry report from 2012, these structures have an average age of 37 years and 70 per cent of them are in good condition.