Nearly 30 elementary and high schools in the Vaudreuil-Dorion area will cancel classes for a day on Tuesday, due to the unforeseen closure of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge.
The bridge, which connects Montreal’s West Island to the off-island suburb of Vaudreuil-Dorion via Highway 40, was closed indefinitely on May 20 because of safety concerns.
As many as 87,000 motorists use the bridge during peak hours.
The day off will allow the schools in the Centre de service scolaire Trois-Lacs to assess how the bridge’s closure will impact students’ commute, executive director Sophie Proulx said in a letter addressed to parents dated May 23.
“We are aware of the inconvenience this situation can cause,” Proulx said. “However, the geographic configuration of our territory means that employees and students commuting from home to school are directly affected.”
No online classes will be offered to make up for the cancelled in-person classes, but students already enrolled in distance learning will continue to have online classes as scheduled.
Macdonald High goes online
The Lester B. Pearson School Board’s (LBPSB) Macdonald High School in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue will also be closed as of May 24 until further notice, but classes will move online.
“Our administrative team continues to evaluate the situation on an ongoing basis so that we can make any necessary changes/updates as needed,” LBPSB director general Cindy Finn said in a statement.
About 16,000 students are enrolled in schools affected by the closure.
School transportation services will also be suspended in several schools until further notice.
If schools remain closed for a second day, parents will be allowed to collect their children’s belongings on May 26 to carry on learning from home.
Bridge can be used by ambulances
Starting May 25, ambulances and emergency vehicles, with the exception of firetrucks, will be able to use a corridor on the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge to respond to calls, Marilyne Picard, MNA for Soulanges, said in a Facebook post.
The Quebec Transport Ministry said it is still working on detour solutions to accommodate commuters who rely on the bridge.
A shuttle system to Vaudreuil station and parking in Soulanges are also in the works.
Employers and employees are encouraged to work remotely when possible.