As many as 170,000 Quebec construction workers walked off the job on May 24, halting work on the new Champlain bridge over the St. Lawrence, the Turcot Interchange in Montreal and other big projects. While workers reluctantly returned to work on May 31, after the province passed back-to-work legislation, federal infrastructure officials now say it is too early to say whether the Champlain work stoppage will further delay the SNC-Lavalin Group-led construction joint venture from meeting a Dec 1, 2018, completion deadline. The $4.3-billion replacement bridge already faces a potential three-month delay over strict new load limits for materials imposed on the old Champlain bridge.
“It is too early to say what, if any, potential impact might be related to that strike. We are analyzing the situation,” said a spokeswoman for the joint venture in an email. The joint venture faces fines of $300,000 a day if it misses the 2018 deadline, with a three-month delay possibly costing $27 million, says a recent National Bank analysis. The joint venture has filed a $93-million suit against the federal government, arguing it was not given critical information on the load restrictions in a timely manner.