The Mercier Island Bridge in Montreal was still closed to traffic on Wednesday for an indefinite period due to spring flooding, much to the dismay of landlocked residents. However, the citizens of the affected sector have not received an evacuation order from the City, since the situation remains under control.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” agrees Clermont Avoine, busy boarding up his basement windows. His children have stepped over the many sandbags to prevent water from entering the houses to come and help him in his work. Like many, the resident of Mercier Island considers “premature” the closure of the bridge that connects the place to Montreal.

“2017 was a big hit. There was water everywhere. Right now it’s nothing compared to that. »

His son Jean-François Avoine went to the island by boat on Wednesday morning. It was available to citizens who needed food and could not leave Mercier Island. “The water is not very high. But for people not used to sailing, I would find it safer to walk on deck. »

Carole Latendresse ignored the ban on crossing the blocked bridge, despite the police presence at the entrance in the morning. The trip went without a hitch. The citizen in a hurry to get to work walked through the structure partially submerged in water. “They took my info to give me a ticket. I will challenge it. They do their job I understand, but there is really not much water. »

“They’re stopping us from crossing, but we did in 2017 and 2019. It was much worse and I was going to work in a rowboat,” protested Robert Kelley, another exasperated resident.

He plans to use his boat in the next few hours to stock up on medicine and food. “We just wish it would stop there and the bridge would be reopened. It brings back bad memories,” the man says from his balcony surrounded by about two feet of water.

The situation is especially problematic at the entrance to the bridge on Île Mercier. “The amount of water under the bridge is significant and the flow is rapid,” explains Martin Guilbault, division manager of the Montreal Fire Department.

The City expects the water level to rise to 7800 m⁠3. It is currently at 7500 m⁠3, he pointed out.

Residents of Mercier Island who leave their area will not be able to return home unless they have a safe boat to cross. “Citizens who would like to leave and return on their own are discouraged from doing so. There is a risk of being swept away by the current, ”says Mr. Guilbault.

In the morning, at a meeting of the executive committee, Valérie Plante indicated that the situation was “on the whole stable” in Montreal.

“We are still in intervention mode, the emergency measures coordination center has been in operation for two weeks already,” she said, assuring that the City is ready to deal with a flood.

The Mayor paid tribute to Montreal firefighters, who are working hard to prevent flooding after long days dealing with the aftermath of the mid-April ice storm. “There are about twenty preventive dikes that have been installed,” the mayor continued. “The firefighters are there to keep everyone safe. »

“We are crossing our fingers that Mother Nature will be merciful and that we stick to the current situation,” said Valérie Plante. “But we are ready. »