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    Tunnel collapse on the A-720: The Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) urges the Minister of Transport to reacquaint himself with the substance of the Johnson Commission report!

    mercredi 3 août 2011
    • Montreal, August 3, 2011 – The collapse of a portion of the concrete structure on a road with as much traffic as the Ville-Marie expressway has sparked a great deal of debate in the past few days about its possible cause. “The appointment of two independent engineers and the announcement by Transport Québec that it intends to publish the inspection report of the engineers who have been appointed to determine the causes of the collapse can both be considered good news. However, more will have to be done in order to make sure that events like these never happen again,” stated the President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, Maud Cohen, Eng.
    • Now that the confidence of Québec’s citizens has been shaken, the Minister of Transport, Sam Hamad, Eng., needs to reacquaint himself with the substance of the Johnson Commission report, which included many of the comments submitted by the OIQ. It is worth mentioning that the OIQ had supported several recommendations in the report that it has advocated time and again, including the importance of applying an infrastructure management approach that covers the entire service life of infrastructures and the supervision of construction work by an engineer. Under the current version of the Engineers Act, construction work does not have to be supervised by an engineer, which is an oversight that undermines safety, and the OIQ would like this to be corrected as soon as possible as part of the Act’s review. The OIQ also believes that the task of supervising work should be assigned by the client rather than the contractor.
       
      To make sure that public infrastructures are adequately and transparently managed, the OIQ also recommends that infrastructure work and maintenance plans be implemented for all public infrastructures so that their quality and safety are maintained throughout their service life, which is usually a matter of decades. These plans must cover any activity that may affect the structure of these works.
       
      Furthermore, the OIQ recommends that an infrastructure work monitoring process be set up so that the nature of all professional engineering work that has been performed on an infrastructure and the professionals responsible for its original design and all subsequent changes can be traced. This would involve basically preparing a sort of health record for an infrastructure, which would include the results of their check-ups, but also require a follow-up of the treatments that have been prescribed for them. All engineering structures that are critical to public safety should have such a record, which would also determine the appropriate service and safety levels for their age and general condition and confirm the maintenance and reconstruction work that have been prescribed and realized.
       
      “The lessons learned from the collapses of both the De la Concorde Overpass and the concrete beam on the A-720 expressway should not go unheeded. It is now up to the Minister of Transport to show leadership and review the substance of the Johnson Commission report. That way, we will be able to win back the public’s confidence in infrastructure management,” concluded Ms. Cohen.
       
      About the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
      Founded in 1920, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec has a membership of more than 60,000 engineering professionals in all fields, except forest engineering.
       
      Mission
      The mission of the OIQ is to ensure the protection of the public by supervising the practice of the profession within the framework of its constituent laws and ensure that the profession serves the public interest.

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