By Matthew McCully
The first day of the Saint-François Bridge closure proved difficult for commuters in downtown Sherbrook on Tuesday morning, with delays during rush hour ofover 40 minutes in some cases for busses and vehicles navigating the detours in place.
A water main rupture early in the morning on Belvedere Nord, part of the detour route, compounded the problem.
At a press briefing late Tuesday morning, David Bombardier, liaison officer for Sherbrooke’s urban infrastructure department, asked locals to be patient and follow the signs in place as the city continues to study traffic patterns in the coming weeks to see what improvements could be made.
The delays led to some less than civil behaviour among drivers near the detour site, resulting in a number traffic violations and tickets handed out by police
The bridge closure, part of the larger Grandes-Fourches project, is scheduled to remain closed until the fall of 2023.
Bombardier said commuters should prepare for delays in the coming weeks as people adapt to different routes, and consider alternate forms of transportation, like carpooling or public transit, to reduce the burden on the downtown core during rush hour.
The first few weeks are always difficult, he explained.
Belvedere Nord, he added, while reopened on Tuesday, would be reduced to single-lane traffic on Wednesday so repairs to the pavement could be completed.
The Saint-François Bridge, located on Terrill Street, was being used by an average of 23,500 vehicles per day before it closed.
While completely closed to vehicular traffic, pedestrians and bicycles can still use the bridge.