Bridge collapse threatens angling on Cascapedia

CBC NEWS - Gaspe

Bridge collapse imperils salmon sport-fishing season on Gaspé's Cascapédia River

5-hour detour through Amqui and Sainte-Anne-des-Monts is now only way to get to famed lodge

Alison Brunette · CBC News · Posted: May 08, 2018

This bridge collapsed on Route 299, cutting off access to a renowned salmon fishing lodge in Cascapédia-Saint-Jules. (Radio-Canada/Pierre Cotton)

Just as the salmon sport-fishing season is about to get underway in the Gaspé, the municipality of Cascapédia-Saint-Jules is worried a recent bridge collapse could be a major blow to the local economy.

Last week, the bridge located at the 14-kilometre mark on Route 299 gave way under the pressure of spring floodwaters, blocking access to the north end of the highway and the Salmon Lodge — a renowned sport-fishing destination.

A five-hour detour through Amqui and Sainte-Anne-des-Monts is now the only way to get to the lodge.

Municipality wants repairs done quickly

The municipality is demanding Québec move quickly to fix the bridge.

The mayor of Cascapédia-Saint-Jules,Gaétan Boudreau, said some fishing groups have already cancelled their trips because of the inconvenience.

The salmon sport-fishing industry in Cascapédia-Saint-Jules employees more than 125 people.

"Salmon fishing brings in a lot of money for the community," he said. "It's a bit worrying."

Boudreau said he's asked Quebec's Transport Ministry (MTQ) to make the fishing camps accessible as quickly as possible so the industry can plan its season.

Mila Roy, an MTQ spokesperson, said replacing the bridge is a priority, however, the river is still too high to evaluate if a temporary bridge can be installed or whethre another solution will be needed.

Cleanup work being done

Tractors and backhoes were on site at the beginning of the week to clear an ice jam, demolish part of the bridge and clear the road.

"We've done what's possible for the moment," said Roy. "The next decisions will be made in the near future."