Ottawa to Spend $1B Acquiring Historic Quebec Bridge From CN

Ottawa to Spend $1B Acquiring Historic Quebec Bridge From CN
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces the purchase of the Quebec City bridge from Canadian National, May 15, 2024 in Quebec City. From left, MP Joel Lightbound, Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of Public Services and Procurement, Trudeau, Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand and Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)
Chris Tomlinson

Ottawa has come to an agreement with the Canadian National Railway (CN) to acquire the historic Quebec Bridge and spend $40 million annually over 25 years to rehabilitate the structure.

Speaking from Quebec City, Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed on May 15 prior media reports that the federal government had reached an agreement with CN.

“Today, we are announcing an agreement with the Canadian National Railway, the current owner of the Quebec bridge, to repatriate this essential and historic infrastructure to the federal government and support its long-term viability,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The bridge, which was privatized in 1993, has linked the banks of the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Lévis, Que., for over 100 years. Originally built in 1917, it sees around 33,000 vehicle crossings per day and around 1,000 pedestrian and cyclist crossings in the warmer months of the year. It remains the longest span cantilever bridge ever built, with a total length of 987 metres.

“The Québec Bridge is a feat of civil and architectural engineering in our country. By repatriating the bridge, we will not only ensure the sustainability of this critical and major infrastructure for the region, but we are also giving control back to the people of Québec,” Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of public services and procurement, said in a release.

The federal government has stated its intention to purchase the bridge as far back as 2019 and the move was also part of the Liberal Party platform during the 2021 election.

While Ottawa will own the bridge, the deal says CN and the Quebec government will retain responsibility and ownership of the rails and roadway on the span.

The Quebec Bridge is one of only two permanent links between Quebec City and Levis, with a third link, a tunnel project, initially backed by the ruling Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government.

Despite the backing of the provincial government, the project has never materialized. Opponents of the project argued that there was not enough traffic in the area to justify the tunnel project and that there would be negative environmental impacts, such as an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2023, CBC Radio Canada reported that the Quebec Ministry of Transport had commissioned an analysis to make a proposed third link exclusive to public transit, but still no progress has been made on the project.
Chris Tomlinson is a freelance contributor to The Epoch Times.