Scandal in Ste. Anne

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Was the overpass at Morgan closed for nothing? If so, resignations should be the order of the day at the next council meeting.
Source: The Gazette
Bill Tierney: All roads led to questionable decisions in Ste-Anne

What is less easy to understand is why the current Ste-Anne administration has been so determined to withhold the documents that clearly show that the bridge didn’t have to be closed: It was perfectly safe and could have been patched up for years to come.

But Ste-Anne council decided to close the viaduct, which prompted Transport Quebec to close the whole exit to prevent traffic from backing up onto the highway. There was no plan for a new configuration. It would have been much smarter to draw the ministry into collaborating on a “future” project.

It was a gamble. Ste-Anne council hoped the MTQ would intervene and invest in the bridge to keep the exit open. But they didn’t. The council lost.

From the MTQ’s point of view, there is some justification. Imagine what would happen if the MTQ decided to intervene in a project legally under the responsibility of Ste-Anne. Every other town with responsibility for collapsing infrastructure running by highways would be knocking at their door.

Did Ste-Anne have to close the bridge? No, it didn’t.

Could it have been different? Yes, if the bridge had been the responsibility of the agglomeration, which, for example, paid for the bike paths that run through Morgan Arboretum and along Ste-Marie Rd.

It was never a question of security. My last engineer and director-general both assured me in 2009 that the bridge was not in danger of imminent collapse. It was more a question of strategy. And it turns out that threatening the Ministry of Transport wasn’t a very good idea.

And once you close a large bit of infrastructure, you can’t just open it and say it was safe all along. You have to fix it or change it. Someone should have thought that through.

Bill Tierney is the former mayor of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.