Harper government announces important next steps towards building the new bridge for the St. Lawrence

MONTREAL — The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today provided major updates on the project to build a new bridge for the St. Lawrence, including the replacement of three overpasses on Highway 15 and the construction of a temporary causeway between Nuns' Island and Montreal.

"The new bridge for the St. Lawrence is a top priority for the Harper government and I am moving this project forward quickly, efficiently and responsibly. Over the next decade, the construction of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence will create 30,000 jobs," said Minister Lebel. "We have already made significant progress in our environmental assessment and I have had many productive meetings with key stakeholders in the Montreal region."

A request for proposals will be issued in the coming weeks for the planning, design and costing of a temporary causeway to be constructed next to the existing Nuns' Island Bridge. This causeway will have three lanes in each direction and will be in place until the Nuns' Island Bridge is permanently replaced as part of the construction of the new St. Lawrence bridge. The Nuns' Island Bridge is a key link between major highways in Montreal and the Champlain Bridge – an essential Canada-United States trade corridor. The objective is to open the temporary causeway by 2015.

"We will build a temporary causeway between Nuns' Island and Montreal to ensure the efficient movement of traffic and goods before and during the construction of the new bridge," said Minister Lebel. "After careful review of all options, I have determined that building a temporary causeway now is the fastest, safest, least disruptive and most cost-effective option."

The Government of Canada has also reviewed proposals to retain consultants to develop the financial business case for the new bridge. The successful bidder will be announced in the next few weeks.

With an estimated $20 billion in international trade crossing the Champlain Bridge annually, this corridor is a significant part of the regional economy and Canada's economy as a whole. An efficient transportation corridor for commuters, public transit users and commercial vehicles is essential to ensuring the quality of life of residents and workers in greater Montreal.

Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012 focuses on creating new opportunities for jobs and growth, and ensuring long-term prosperity for Canadians. Strengthening infrastructure across the country is an important part of this plan. Thanks to the Government of Canada's leadership, and our strong economic and financial fundamentals, the Canadian economy has recovered from the global recession better than most other industrialized countries. Canada has been a leader among G-7 countries throughout the recovery, with more than 765,000 net new jobs created since July 2009. Find out more about the opportunities in Economic Action Plan 2012 at www.budget.gc.ca/2012/home-accueil-eng.html.

Updates on the overpass replacement project and temporary causeway will be regularly posted on the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridge Incorporated's website at: www.jccbi.ca. For more information about the new bridge for the St. Lawrence, please visit www.tc.gc.ca/nbfsl

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