April 21, 2024

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Bridge Collapses in Baltimore: A Catastrophe in Quebec

Bridge Collapses in Baltimore: A Catastrophe in Quebec

Experts advise that Quebec's bridges would be better protected if one of them ran directly over them, as happened in Baltimore on Tuesday. Newspaper.

• Read more: Baltimore Bridge Collapses: Six Missing

• Read more: How can such an important bridge collapse like this?

Quebecers fearing such a disaster here can rest easy.

On the St. Lawrence River, where cargo boats pass, boats must avoid piers only when crossing the Laviolette Bridge, and on Trois-Rivières, rocky islands are clearly visible.

Photo from Quebec government website

  • Listen to summaries of the latest events with journalist Alexandre Moranville

“There is no danger on Laviolette Bridge. Two bridges in Quebec, namely the Quebec Bridge and the Pierre-Laporte Bridge, cannot be reached by ships because the piers are close to the shore. Finally, in Montreal, there is an aqueduct, so the bridges are preserved [car les bateaux ne croisent pas de piliers]», Mr. Faffert concludes.

Bridge Collapses in Baltimore: A Catastrophe in Quebec

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“It is important to reassure people; A similar phenomenon did not occur in Quebec. […] Our bridge structures are protected by riprap or are out of the waterways,” Transport and Sustainable Mobility Minister Genevieve Guilbault pointed out on Tuesday.

All commercial ships arriving in the St. Lawrence must be supported by captains who are experts in navigating the river, the cabinet underscored.

It has to be planned

“When designing a bridge, this is a condition where we have to consider the impact of a boat,” summarizes Professor Bruno Massicot of the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique Montreal.

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Generally, protective structures suitable for the weight of passing boats are built around the piers to prevent any collision.

It can take the form of piles of rocks, as around the piers of the Laviolette Bridge in Trois-Rivières.


“The goal of the structure is that it is destroyed to absorb the energy or it causes the ship to deviate from its course,” explains Mario Faffert, retired professor of civil engineering.

Noticing the size of the boat that went under the Baltimore bridge, Mr. Faffert considers it “incomprehensible” that security structures are not planned.

“There's a mistake somewhere that the authorities in the US don't do that,” he believes.

“It seems underrated,” said Mr. Massicot says. If it is correct by calculation, it calls into question the calculation methods we use.

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