Are heavy trucks making deteriorating structures worse?

Quebec's traffic control officials are sounding the alarm about a lack of surveillance of heavy trucks traveling on bridges and overpasses that are currently under weight restrictions.

In a letter, obtained by La Presse, sent the SAAQ, the president of the union Guy Nadeau asks that roadside checks be bolstered for heavy trucks that could be causing structures already in poor condition to deteriorate even faster. Nadeau says new hires are needed to keep an eye on structures in Montreal and Quebec City, noting there are only 290 officers for the entire road network.

One controller told the newspaper the overpass at Sources Blvd. on the West Island is a prime example of a structure that should be monitored. The man said the ramp leading to the westbound side of Highway 20 is under a weight limit that forces large trucks into a 7.8 km detour (along Highway 20 east to the Dorval Circle) on a stretch of Highway that can be very busy at several times per day. The controller said with the structure in the shape that it is it would be a good idea to watch out for truckers who want to skip the lengthy detour and just use the weight capped ramp.

The newspaper noted it saw one heavy truck ignoring the detour after being on site for a little over 10 minutes Saturday morning.

In 2017, due to the condition of the Sources overpass, Transport Quebec reduced the number of lanes on an off-ramp from Highway 20 east to northbound Sources and put in the weight limit on the on ramp from the southbound side of the boulevard to Highway 20 west. A couple of months later TQ announced it would repair the current structure instead of building a new interchange from the ground up.

Repairs to those ramps were supposed to begin in 2018, with repairs to the rest of the structure beginning in 2020.