A world expert in painting and corrosion believes that paintwork on the Quebec bridge will have to be started within five to ten years, failing which the damage to the structure will be “irreversible”.
Bruno Saverys worked for 30 years as a specialized insurer for paint manufacturers, whose worst enemy is obviously rust. It has therefore managed to manage the corrosion protection of many bridges, ships, oil rigs and other steel structures.
Today, he is President and CEO of Zingametall, a Belgian company that has been selling a zinc galvanizing film for the last 30 years. The head office is located in Belgium, but the star product, Zinga, is on sale in some 100 countries.
Passing through Quebec City at the invitation of one of his Quebec distributors, Toitures R. Martin, Mr. Saverys took the opportunity to inspect the Québec bridge. What he saw disappointed him. “Ouf … ouf … ouf …” he began to sigh when Le Soleil questioned him. “There is something to be done. This bridge is really sick. We can see that there have been alterations and small interviews. But I say, this bridge, he has cancer and put a band-aid on someone who has cancer, it’s not going to help him. ”
“The steel loses its thickness, which could in the short or medium term cause a problem of stability of the bridge and therefore a danger for the public, the users, but also a problem for the longevity of the bridge, Expert, who refuses to consider the disappearance of such an “icon”.
According to him, time is short. “From the small parts that I saw, I would say that in five to ten years, I am convinced that some parts will break. For me, the window that remains is from today to in five years “to at least start the work, insisted Mr. Saverys.
The latter considers that the steel must be stripped with a mixture of water and sand, under confinement, of course, so as not to pollute the St. Lawrence. Then, of course, he suggests applying two layers of Zinga, a product composed of 96% zinc, which is equivalent to hot-dip galvanizing according to the manufacturer.
The work would be done for “at least 20 years without maintenance” and then it would be possible to go there by alterations, advances Mr. Saverys. “It’s much cheaper than replacing beams on the right and left” as CN does, he says.
For the businessman, the estimate of $ 400 million for painting works appears a bit salty. Per square meter, we’re talking about a little over $ 800. “For $ 700 per square meter, I paint you the most beautiful yacht in the world and they are craftsmen who do everything by hand,” he compares.
René Martin, owner of Toiture R. Martin, firmly believes that the Zinga would repaint the Quebec bridge for less and “do a great job”. It compares the product to wood stain. “It gets into the metal so it will not flake. To do the maintenance, we put another layer above all simply, “he explains. “And in addition the mixture is not harmful to health,” says the entrepreneur.
In Quebec City, the galvanizing film was used for the Jean-Lesage International Airport terminal. The Kalvoya bridges in Norway and Burdekin in Australia, which can be compared to that in Quebec City, are also part of Zingametall’s long list of accomplishments.
The Pierre-Laporte bridge rejuvenated at the end of March
The rejuvenation of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge will begin at the end of March with $ 12 million of paint work to renovate about a quarter of the deck. The Quebec Ministry of Transportation (MTQ) is also preparing to install the anti-conviction barriers promised several years ago.
The Pierre-Laporte bridge, open to traffic in 1970 and a kilometer long, is part of the Quebec plan for infrastructures (PQI) 2016-2026 in the category of major “planning” projects. Repairs to the framing, metal and painting are estimated at more than $ 50 million.
Guillaume Paradis, spokesman for the MTQ, insists on the importance of “ensuring the sustainability” of the structure considered “strategic”. It’s ironic when we know that the Quebec bridge, owned by CN, is rusting slowly but surely by its side.
A first phase of the vast program will be carried out this spring. Workers will be activated under the apron of the Pierre-Laporte bridge, between the abutment and the pillar on the south side, to replace damaged structural elements, metallizing the steel – once pickled, a layer of zinc is applied hot to Protect it – and then paint it.
The contract of $ 12 million was won by the Québec Construction Injection EDM company, used to work on the bridges of the region.
A contract for quality control specialists was also awarded by the MTQ last year, suggesting the launch of the site, but it took a year before the brushes came out.
Mr. Paradis pointed out that the work would not cause serious interference with traffic. It is possible that lanes may be cut off from time to time for the delivery of materials, but no more.
Still this summer, paving is also planned on the Pierre-Laporte bridge. The spokesperson for the MTQ talks about “lasting repair of punctual deficiencies”, pelades and potholes. There are $ 1 million to $ 5 million, including similar interventions on the two bridges of the nearby Chaudière River.
Finally, the planning of road works for the period 2017-2019 provides for the installation of deterrent or anti-crime barriers. In 2013, a first series of metal bars were installed at the two entrances, north and south, of the Pierre-Laporte bridge. In the form of long peaks (2,5 meters high) curved inwards, these considerably complicate access to the structure. A more complete solution has been under consideration since.
“Indeed, it’s been a long time since we talk about it because it’s something that has necessitated elaborate studies. It is a bridge that is suspended so we had to take into account the type of structure, the winds, the climate, the maintenance, the traffic flow to arrive at the best solution, “explains Paradis, Forward on the selected design and the distance that will be covered.
An envelope of $ 1 million to $ 5 million is earmarked for this work to be completed over the next two years.