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The Globe and Mail

Government won’t release report on Montreal bridge in order to avoid public alarm

The federal government has received a report on the state of Montreal's Champlain Bridge but says it will not be releasing it, in order not to cause public alarm.

Commuters and suburban mayors have expressed concern about the safety of the bridge – one of the main links to Montreal island, which needs significant repairs.

Federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel said Tuesday that what's most important is the actual work that will be done on the bridge, not the report.

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He said he's concerned that unqualified people might misinterpret the information in the report and worry unnecessarily.

"When you release information into the public that is handled by people who are not exactly connoisseurs of the subject matter, that can create worries that I do not want to create," Mr. Lebel said.

"Above all, I do not want people to try politicizing this issue and to work against the public interest. This isn't the time to be starting something that would create insecurity in the public.

"And I'm not saying there are things in the report that would create insecurity; I'm simply saying that we treat very thoroughly everything in such reports to allow for smooth and secure transport."

Lebel hasn't ruled out any future options for restoring the bridge such as public-private partnerships but won't put a timetable on when those decisions will be made.

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