By Robert Frank
Repair work to maintain the Donegani overpass will cost Pointe Claire taxpayers $1.5 million, Mayor Bill McMurchie told The Suburban in a telephone interview.
The bridge garnered widespread attention after chunks of concrete fell from the overpass’ stressed concrete sidewalk onto Donegani Avenue, July 6. No one was hurt and the street was reopened to traffic several hours later.
“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any structural problem associated with the overpass,” reassured Mayor McMurchie.
Nonetheless, he said, normal preventative maintenance is pending.
“We have provided in our budget for work to be done on the overpass: $500,000 this year; and next year $1 million.”
One of the load-bearing walls, along Donegani had already undergone repair work in previous years. However the opposite wall—adjacent to the Canadian National Railways transcontinental main line—shows signs of decaying concrete and exposed, rusting reinforcing rods. More than 40 passenger and freight trains ply the route on a typical day.
That wall has also belonged to Pointe Claire since 1993, when Quebec passed a law which transferred to municipalities all provincial bridges that spanned railways, which are a federal jurisdiction. Mayor McMurchie, who was quoted last week as saying that the far wall belonged to the Quebec Ministry of Transport, indicated that he had, in fact, been referring to the adjacent highway overpass, which links St. Jean Blvd. to highway 20.
That bridge underwent extensive restoration at provincial expense, several years ago.