Boulevard du Souvenir overpass collapse

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Coordinates: 45°33′30″N 73°43′53″W / 45.558325°N 73.731480°W / 45.558325; -73.731480 On June 18, 2000, the southern portion of the Boulevard du Souvenir overpass in Laval, which crosses Quebec Autoroute 15, collapsed into the roadway, killing one and injuring two when cars were crushed underneath the structure. Sixteen beams weighing about 70 tons each fell. The highway was closed for several days while workers removed the debris. The remains of the structure were later demolished as well for safety reasons according to then–Quebec Transport Minister Guy Chevrette. A new overpass was built less than three years later. A similar incident occurred on September 30, 2006, also in Laval, on Autoroute 19 where the collapse of the De la Concorde overpass killed five.

The overpass was under construction at the time the incident occurred. The company in charge of the project was Beaver Ridge, a company that was under bankruptcy protection and was without a construction license for about four months. Dessau-Soprin was an engineering firm that was supervising the project operations.[1][2] [3]

The city of Laval affirmed that, prior to the collapse, it discovered unspecified problems with some of the beams of the overpass. Beaver Ridge president Mario D'Errico told Le Devoir that the failure was caused by a rupture of one of the beams—which was later confirmed by a Transports Quebec employee—citing an instability of one of them which then consequently caused the collapse of every single beam on the south side. Generally, beams are fixed together in the form of an X[2][4]

Inspectors from the Commission de la Santé et de la Sécurite du Travail (CSST) noticed some irregularities in the workplace several months before the incident. The CSST blamed Beaver Ridge for security flaws and had demanded changes in regards to the beam and formwork structures. In a report published in 2003, they had also discovered that there were communication problems at the site.[5][6]

Public inquests started in late 2000 with Coroner Gilles Perron in charge of the case. After the inquest, Beaver Ridge was severely blamed for constructions flaws. In 2003, an engineer had mentioned that he had presented incomplete and inadequate plans for the project. No criminal charges were laid in the case.[7]

Soon after the Souvenir incident, a study by the Montreal Gazette along with Transports Quebec and the City of Montreal discovered that several overpasses of the Décarie Expressway were in poor condition [8] which required extensive repairs and renovations during the following years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Un viaduc s'écroule sur une voiture à Laval" [An overpass collapsed on a car in Laval] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. June 18, 2000. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Viaduc à Laval: la Ville se dégage de toute responsabilité" [Overpass in Laval: the city assumes no responsibility] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. June 20, 2000. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Viaduc effondré: Beaver sans licence de construction" [Overpass collapsed: Beaver an unlicensed contractor] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. June 22, 2000. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Le président de Beaver Asphalte croit à une rupture interne dans une poutre" [The president of Beaver Asphalt believes in an internal failure in a beam] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. June 21, 2000. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Viaduc effondré: irrégularités sur le chantier" [Overpass collapsed: irregularities on site] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. June 22, 2000. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Viaduc du Souvenir: le manque de communication à l'origine du drame" [Souvenir Overpass: the lack of communication at the origin of the drama] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. May 6, 2003. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Viaduc du Souvenir: un ingénieur reconnaît sa faute" [Souvenir Overpass: engineer recognizes his fault] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Les viaducs de l'autoroute Décarie en piètre condition" [Overpasses of the Decarie Autoroute in poor condition] (in French). TVA Nouvelles. June 20, 2000. Retrieved July 1, 2011.