Complexity of the tests: $4.2 million more for the drilling of the 3rd link

Test complexity: $4.2M more for 3rd link drills


The drilling campaign that studies the soils in anticipation of the construction of the third link will cost $16.2 million, or $4.2 million more than what was initially planned.

Last week, the Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, was pleased to present the new phase of a geotechnical drilling campaign, with eight soil tests carried out in the St. seabed, between downtown Quebec and Lévis. 

This sequence followed a first drilling campaign that took place two years ago. Indeed, in July 2020, the Ministère des Transports (MTQ) awarded a $12 million contract to the SNC-Lavalin/Englobe Corp consortium. 

In October of the same year, the experts had started field work. Their mandate was to carry out “terrestrial and marine drilling and soundings as well as the characterization of the soils and rock in place for the Quebec-Lévis tunnel project”.

In this image taken on July 14, a special barge is moored in the river, at the height of the Quebec-Lévis crossing, to dig into the bed of the St. Lawrence.

Large territory

At the time, the MTQ indicated that the $12 million contract was a maximum for a three-year period and that it would be used to cover all the geotechnical needs for this project. It concerned a very large portion of the territory, from the tip of Île d'Orléans to downtown Quebec and Lévis.

However, in July 2021, a modification was made to the contract, i.e. an addition of $4,167,875.23, justified by “unforeseeable damage or constraints that could not be known before the work”, we learn by consulting the government's electronic tendering system.

In its explanation, the MTQ indicates that “the offshore drilling portion is highly complex and additional modifications had to be made to the barge, in particular to ensure the level of stability and for the construction of a platform and the addition of mobile piles allowing the equipment to be anchored to the seabed”.

No project notice yet

Furthermore, this preparatory work is underway despite the fact that the MTQ has not filed the project notice necessary to trigger the environmental assessment of the third link, revealed this week Le Devoir. 

This process aims to determine the environmental impacts of the tunnel. These will therefore not be known before the next elections, nor will the opinion of the various ministries on the admissibility of the project. It should be noted that the Québec tramway had to undergo this process. 

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