(Baie-Saint-Paul and Montreal) Baie-Saint-Paul was hit by a “perfect cocktail” of heavy rain and snow cover in the mountains, but “the worst would be over,” said the Minister of Public Security François Bonnardel, although more “water storms” are expected in the coming days. Several infrastructures are still under surveillance across the region.
“The worst would be over. Now, some weather models tell us between 10 and 35 mm of water for 48 hours. I don’t want to tell you that we are crossing our fingers, but all the teams are in place to secure the network, ”said Mr. Bonnardel at a press briefing at Baie-Saint-Paul City Hall.
Mr. Bonnardel estimates that the approximately 600 people waiting to return to their homes will have to wait another 48 to 72 hours. “It’s normal that these people want to go home, see their house if they have lost belongings or whatever, but you have to secure the network,” he said.
For his part, the mayor of Baie-Saint-Paul, Michaël Pilote, believes that despite the preparation for the weekend, the authorities were “taken a little off guard”.
They pointed out that the accommodation centers are still open and that citizens can come to warm up or sleep there if they need it. Compensation programs are also available.
The day before, the municipalities of Baie-Saint-Paul and Saint-Urbain were hit by a “perfect cocktail” that isolated the first town and split the second in two. The rivers in the area came out of their beds, several culverts gave way, and the very important Route 138, which connects Quebec to the North Shore, was “torn” by the force of the torrent.
“It fell between 20 and 70 mm of water, with still significant snow cover in the Wildlife Reserve. A 40-50mm [water] shot fell in the area. You had a perfect cocktail for a flood some residents hadn’t seen in 50-60 years. This is an unfortunate finding,” Mr. Bonnardel said.
Quebec cities are asking for $2 billion a year for five years to prepare for climate change. For the moment, the Legault government has not acceded to this request.
“We have a clear and precise net observation. Climate change is hitting us, and we must react and invest the substantial sums to secure Quebec,” said the Minister. He pointed out that 70 million has just been made available to secure the banks, but this is an envelope intended for the whole province.
It is too early to quantify the material damage in Charlevoix, said the politician, who went to see the extent of the destruction in town after his press briefing. The Leclerc bridge, which connects the two banks of the Gouffre river to the city center, could reopen to traffic later in the day, but the situation will remain complicated “still for 48 to 72 hours”.
The Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility (MTMD) recalled on Tuesday that Route 138 will remain closed in both directions in Baie-Saint-Paul, in the areas of the Mare and Gouffre rivers, for a period of time. still undetermined. Route 362 is also interrupted in both directions, at the Leclerc bridge. A local coordination center was set up as a result.
In total, “at least six bridges” are currently under continuous surveillance in the area, the ministry says.
Two inspections also took place on Tuesday morning: first on the Leclerc Bridge in Baie-Saint-Paul, on Route 362, then on the Saint-Urbain Bridge, on Route 138, further east. If the two inspections prove “positive”, Quebec could then authorize the resumption of traffic towards La Malbaie by route 362.
“The ministry’s priority is to assess, as soon as possible, the damage to the infrastructure and to carry out the work required to reopen the roads”, indicates the MTMD, saying that it is aware “that these closures will have repercussions significant on traffic”
Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault says she asked that “technical teams, hydraulic engineers and structural specialists” be dispatched to the scene on Tuesday morning. A request was also sent to Hydro-Quebec “to obtain a verification of the wires that threaten to fall to the ground,” his office said on Tuesday.
Several detours, displayed on variable message signs, have also been organized. Eastbound, users are invited to use route 175 through the Laurentides wildlife reserve, route 170 or route 172 towards Charlevoix. Westbound, you will have to use Route 172 or Route 170 from the North Shore, or even Route 175 towards Quebec.
Rang Saint-Placide also remains closed to traffic until further notice, a general inspection of a structure must be carried out before reopening. On the water, the activities of the Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive/Île-aux-Coudres ferry however resumed late Monday evening, earlier than expected.