The state of Quebec roads ... always a third-world country experience when driving here.
I love the bit in this news report where Transport Quebec knew about pieces of concrete falling from the overpass and issued a media release. Will somone lose their job over this? Of course not. This is Quebec, where everybody is unionized.
Well the final tally is in, and it's five dead, even though the cops were alerted to falling bits of concrete and hour before the collapse. I'll refrain from mentioning the indignity of Reuters filing the piece from Toronto; I don't blame them from not driving to the site to do their reporting.
Transport Quebec spokeswoman Josée Seguin told the Canadian Press the overpass was built in 1970, but she didn't know when it was last inspected.
She said the department heard about an hour before the accident that pieces of concrete were falling off the overpass. Transport Quebec then issued an advisory to some media, she said.
Oh, this keeps just getting better - Transport Quebec sent an inspector, who cleaned up the bits of fallen concrete, but didn't order the overpass closed. I thought you'd have to go all the way down to New Orleans to find this kind of breath-taking incompetance.
The latest update - buck-passing between the cops and the Transport guys. Seems someone was onsite for about ten minutes with a broom and a dustpan:
"There was a call to the department [of transportation] from the Quebec police force at 11:25 a.m., pointing out there was concrete on the highway," provincial Transportation Minister Michel Després told reporters.UPDATE 10/04/2006: The incompetents at Transport Quebec had to be ordered to stop destroying the evidence by the head of an inquiry into ... their incompetence.
"At 11:58, a representative from the department was present. They recovered the rubble there. They assessed the situation, and during that time, there was nothing detected by the person who had been sent there which would require the immediate closure of the overpass."
At 12:33, there was a second call from police to report that more concrete had fallen. Four minutes later, the overpass collapsed, Després said.
The former Quebec premier appointed to head the inquiry into the deadly Laval overpass collapse has ordered transport officials and provincial police to stop clearing rubble from the site so that he and other investigators can examine the remains.
Provincial transport officials believe concrete samples from the overpass could hold clues to explain the weekend accident that killed five people and injured six. But Pierre Marc Johnson said experts need to look at the scene first hand, before the collapsed overpass is demolished.
Provincial transport officials had planned to destroy the structure's remains starting late Tuesday. La Sûreté du Québec was assisting clean-up efforts at the site, as part of their investigation into the collapse.
Check out a bunch of pictures of the collapse - click this one below: