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The Globe and Mail

One-third of Montreal's infrastructure needs repair, 12 structures critical: report

Maintenance crews work on the Champlain Bridge as it spans the Saint Lawerence river in Montreal, Friday, March 18, 2011. Now Canada's busiest bridge with up to 60 million vehicles crossing per year since opening to traffic in 1961, the bridge is in need of major repair and has become a safety concern to motorists.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Nearly one-third of Montreal's deteriorating road structures need repair work and a dozen of them are considered in critical condition.

That's according to a study that examined 555 pieces of infrastructure under local jurisdiction.

The report released by the city today found 12 were in the most critical shape, 44 were deficient, 38 were mediocre, and another 81 were just generally deteriorating.

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That means just over 30 per cent of 555 structures such as bridges, tunnels and overpasses need work.

The city's chronic infrastructure problems were brought into focus this summer when a giant concrete slab collapsed onto a downtown expressway, while bridge closures caused monster traffic jams.

Theories abound about why the city's roads are in such poor shape: two factors often cited are the use of poor materials in the original construction, along with improper maintenance.

Some public-policy analysts say, however, that Montreal's woes highlight an increasingly common problem across the country: the need for funding for city infrastructure.

Montreal says it needs to nearly double its spending on infrastructure refurbishment over the next three years — to just over $50-million annually for a total of $157-million — from the current level of $30-million a year.

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