Sunday, October 1, 2006

An overpass has collapsed in Laval, a suburb of the Montreal area of Quebec, Canada. Three lanes of the Concorde Boulevard overpass collapsed into Highway 19. At least 5 people are dead, 6 others injured, 2 critically and least 3 cars are reported to be trapped underneath the overpass. Authorities have stated that 3 cars and a motorcycle were on the overpass when it collapsed.

Rescue workers and construction engineers have brought in heavy equipment, cranes and drills to break up the overpass into roughly a dozen smaller segments for removal. At the time of the collapse, authorities reported that 2 vehicles were trapped under the debris. Around midnight, the two vehicles were removed from the debris, and the five occupants of both vehicles were pronounced dead on the site.

Transport Quebec and Sûreté du Québec have reported that around 9:30 a.m. local time, people called 911, reporting that small chunks of concrete had fallen from the Boulevard de la Concorde (Concorde Boulevard) overpass over Autoroute 19, and Transport Quebec sent a crew to inspect. At around 11:55 a.m., Transport’s Québec patrol arrived at the overpass confirming the facts. The patroller moved the chunks off the highway and produced a report, sent to the Transports Quebec branch responsible for Laval.

The incident happened at approximately 12:30 p.m. local time, local residents described what sounded like “an earthquake”. It is not known at this time how the collapse occurred, or when it might be repaired. It is currently assumed that the cement bondings to the steel rods which held the overpass to its approaches gave way, and with nothing to hold the overpass’ central span up, it collapsed.

This isn’t the first overpass collapse in Laval. In 2000, a section of the Highway 15 overpass collapsed, killing one and injuring two others. It was later determined that the collapse in 2000 was caused by a manufacturing defect.

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