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Pont Turcot

Turcot Bridge

Pont Turcot

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: April 13, 2011 and July 4, 2019

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Montée Turcot Over Rivière Châteauguay
Location
Howick: Montérégie, Québec: Canada
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1889 By Builder/Contractor: International Engineering and Construction Company Limited of Braine-le-Comte, Belgium and Engineer/Design: Gérard Macquet

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
251 Feet (77 Meters)
Structure Length
264 Feet (80 Meters)
Roadway Width
16.3 Feet (4.97 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

Introduction: About Gérard Macquet

In 1887 the Québec government created a program to promote the construction of metal bridges, with the hope of providing better and more durable bridges than the short-lived wooden structures that were being built at the time. The Department of Public Works hired a young Belgian engineer by the name of Gérard Macquet to be the Director of Bridge Construction. Macquet brought with him a European philosophy of bridge construction. Gérard Macquet was the designer of Pont Turcot.

In 1887, wrought iron and pinned connections in metal truss bridges were the most common form of metal bridge throughout North America, for reasons of materials cost, as well as the available types of labor and field equipment available. Steel was being used in railroad rails, and so wrought iron was cheaper. Pinned connections were easy for unskilled labor to assemble in the field and eliminated the need for field riveting, which was difficult prior to the development of the handheld pneumatic rivet hammer. Bridge technology development in this period was focused on economy of materials, ease of assembly, and bridge durability. Many bridge builders attempted to develop unique patented construction details and truss configurations in an attempt to build the best bridge. Later, builders found it easiest to stick with standardized materials and construction details. However it was not until the early 1900s that the extremely important transition to steel and riveted connections in trusses was completed.

Using steel and providing riveted connections in truss bridges was not as problematic in Europe, and so in terms of this aspect of technological development, Europe was for many years significantly ahead of North America in terms of bridge construction. There were also a number of design and cosmetic differences that meant that bridges built in Europe often had different truss configurations and built-up beam styles on them compared to North American bridges. Coming from Europe, Macquet brought with him an understanding of the values of steel, and the feasibility of their construction. Macquet advocated for the use of mild steel and riveted connections in truss bridges. As a result, in his position as Director of Bridge Construction, Québec saw steel bridges being constructed on its roads earlier than other places in North America. Macquet's bridges were also noted for their European styling in terms of design.

A Unique Bridge For North America

Since this bridge was designed by a Belgian engineer, it is perhaps unsurprising that this bridge was fabricated in Belgium by a company whose name appears to translate into "International Engineering and Construction Company Limited." The name seems appropriate, since this overseas contract certainly was a international project. The bridge was shipped to Québec and construction and assembly was undertaken by A. Charlebois and William Doran. Between Macquet's European philosophy into bridge design and the European fabricator, this bridge appears to be the most European bridge in all of North America. The overall truss design which researchers call the "Macquet Parabolic" is very similar to bridges sometimes called "bowstring" bridges in Europe. The design includes a curved top chord as well as a curved end post that ends in a vertical orientation at the bearings. The diagonal members follow a double intersection Pratt. The use of the double-intersection Pratt with a curved top chord and also the use of a curved-to-vertical end post are both design features that are somewhat common in European bridge design. Both are nearly unheard of in North America. Pont Turcot also displays a design in its built-up beams that is either rare or unique in North America, but appears to be strongly based off of common European practice, which gives the beams the appearance of plate rather than box beams. For example, the top chord is composed of paired angles with plate in between. The diagonal members are two angles that are positioned right beside each other and riveted to plate. The vertical members have a design that essentially combines the concept of v-lacing with that of battens: every other bar that runs between the two pairs of angles is an alternating diagonal bar, while in between those are horizontal batten bars. The horizontal sway bracing beams are similar to the vertical members however the diagonal bars do not alternate. Instead, they follow a Pratt truss configuration relative to the length of the beam, a most unusual detail.

Both the overall design of this bridge as well as the composition of its individual beams are strongly European in style. Designed by a European engineer and fabricated in Belgium, this bridge appears to be the most European bridge in North America. Nearly every aspect of this bridge's history, design, and appearance is unique in North America. In addition, the bridge is significant for its impressive span length. On top of that, the bridge has excellent historic integrity with very few alterations. The only noteworthy alteration is the replacement of a couple diagonal members. The historic and technological significance of this bridge cannot be understated. The bridge is one of the most important heritage bridges in North America.

HistoricBridges.org Preservation Recommendations - April 2011

 The bridge has been left standing closed to vehicular traffic but accessible to pedestrians. The bridge appears to remain in good physical condition. Although the bridge has very little paint left on it and has rusted, there was no major section loss or pack rust noted on the bridge. Because the bridge is steel and not rust-resistant wrought iron, a good preservation project would be to blast clean and repaint the bridge, and maintain it for pedestrian use only. It does not appear that any major work is needed to the steel itself, but should repairs ever be needed, they should be undertaken using the methods of in-kind restoration. Failed rivets should be replaced with rivets and not modern bolts. The original railings should not be removed. Failed built-up beams should be replaced with exact replicas of the riveted beams, which is especially important with this bridge because the design of its built-up beams is one of its main areas of significance. Another preservation recommendation would be to install interpretive signage for the bridge.

Comments Following Bridge Rehabilitation - January 2012

Above: Photos showing the bridge after repainting, new deck, and new railing added. Photo Credit: Cycle Fun Montreal

In January 2012, HistoricBridges.org was pleased to learn that this rare bridge was restored for non-motorized use. A new wooden deck was installed. The truss was repainted, and the dark green color selected maintains the bridges familiar, dark appearance while not making it so dark that it is hard to photograph and bring out the details of the truss. No major alterations to the truss appear to be visible, which is good. The original railings were retained, something HistoricBridges.org also feels was very important. The only criticism of the project would be that the tall railings composed of numerous wooden boards severely block the view of the historical railings and the historical truss. HistoricBridges.org would have recommended the use of a wooden railing that did not block the view as much. Even better would have been to use a metal railing. Metal railing can be designed in many different ways to meet safety requirements for a pedestrian bridge, while also avoiding the visual obstruction commonly found with wooden railing. The railing is a minor issue however since the most important fact is that the bridge itself has not been altered and has been protected by a coat of paint. The added railing could be changed to something different at a later date.

Additional Resources

Below are a number of links to documents and websites that may be of interest. Because this page serves to document one of the most important heritage bridges in Québec and because it also was among the first bridges from Québec on HistoricBridges.org this page was found to be an appropriate place to list some links also dealing with the evaluation of heritage bridges in general in Québec. Unlike most of the provinces in Canada, Québec appears to have a much more organized and developed inventory and management plan for its heritage bridges. A number of the links below provide evidence of this.

Official Transports Québec Heritage Bridges Website - Provides an overview of heritage bridges in Québec.

Gérard Macquet Biography - A detailed paper that explores Gérard Macquet's life and accomplishments with bridge construction in Québec.

Additional Gérard Macquet Information - An article that discusses Gérard Macquet.

Overview of Asset Management of Heritage Bridges in Québec - An overview presentation that discusses the management of heritage bridges in Québec.

Heritage Bridges Québec Evaluation Manual - Potential heritage bridges in Québec are evaluated using a points based scoring system. The scoring system not only provides guidance as to the heritage significance of a potential bridge, it also suggests whether the bridge should be prioritized for rehabilitation or restoration. This manual serves to detail the scoring system and other information relating to the evaluation of heritage bridges.

Heritage Bridge Identification and Management Guide - This guide covers similar topics as the above manual but is more geared toward the general public seeking basic information about the management system rather than someone wishing to learn exactly how the bridges are evaluated.

1892 Report By Gérard Macquet On Metal Bridges In Québec (View An English Translation) - A primary source document that was part of a report contained in the sessional papers for the Québec legislature.

De l'information Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec

Original Text In French

Description

Le pont Turcot, classé monument historique, est un ouvrage de génie civil construit en 1889. Ce pont d'une travée mesure 76,6 mètres de long et 4,98 mètres de large. La structure rivetée en acier est composée de fermes paraboliques à treillis à double intersection. Elle repose sur des culées en pierre de taille. Situé en milieu rural, à proximité du noyau villageois, le pont Turcot permet d'enjamber la rivière Châteauguay, dans la municipalité de Très-Saint-Sacrement.
Usage : Transport, communication et services publics (Ponts et ouvrages de génie)

Valeur patrimoniale

La valeur patrimoniale du pont Turcot repose sur son intérêt historique. Il s'agit de l'un des premiers ponts bâtis dans le cadre de la Politique des ponts métalliques, instaurée par le gouvernement d'Honoré Mercier (1840-1894) en 1887. Dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle, les municipalités sont chargées de la construction des ponts sur leur territoire. Généralement en bois et non couverts, ces ponts ont une durée de vie d'une dizaine d'années et sont fréquemment détruits par des embâcles ou des crues. Leur fragilité affecte ainsi le réseau de transport et nuit au développement de l'agriculture. La Politique des ponts métalliques est adoptée pour favoriser la construction de ponts en métal, plus résistants. Les municipalités assument le coût des culées en maçonnerie, des chemins d'approche et l'équivalent du coût de construction d'un pont en bois, tandis que le gouvernement accorde une subvention couvrant les sommes supplémentaires nécessaires pour faire ériger une structure métallique. Une cinquantaine de ponts ont été construits avant l'abolition de cette politique en 1892. Le pont Turcot, élevé en 1889 pour franchir la rivière Châteauguay en remplacement d'un pont saisonnier sur chevalets, est le deuxième de cette série. Il rappelle les efforts déployés à la fin du XIXe siècle afin de consolider le réseau routier et d'améliorer la circulation des produits agricoles.

La valeur patrimoniale du pont Turcot repose également sur son association avec Gérard Macquet (né en 1859). Pour favoriser l'intégration du français comme langue d'usage dans les projets d'ingénierie, le gouvernement Mercier engage cet ingénieur du Corps belge des Ponts et Chaussées. Celui-ci est aussitôt nommé directeur de la construction des ponts métalliques. Il rompt rapidement avec la pratique courante en Amérique du Nord, qui était de ne spécifier que la largeur et la portée nécessaires, laissant aux entrepreneurs le soin de décider du type de pont. Macquet et son équipe préparent des plans et des devis très détaillés et écartent ainsi les entrepreneurs de la conception des structures. Jusqu'à son départ, en 1892, l'ingénieur supervise l'élaboration d'une trentaine des ponts construits dans le cadre de la Politique des ponts métalliques. Peu d'entre eux subsistent. Le pont Turcot constitue donc un témoin exceptionnel de son oeuvre au Québec.

La valeur patrimoniale du pont Turcot repose en outre sur son intérêt technologique. L'ouvrage témoigne de l'introduction au Québec des structures en acier doux entièrement rivetées. Dans les dernières décennies du XIXe siècle, en Amérique du Nord, plusieurs ponts métalliques sont érigés, notamment pour le réseau ferroviaire. La fonte est souvent utilisée, et les structures sont généralement à treillis articulé assemblé à goupilles. Ce type est rejeté par Macquet, qui lui préfère les ponts en acier doux entièrement rivetés, plus répandus en Europe. Bien que ces derniers soient plus dispendieux, l'ingénieur insiste sur leur stabilité, leur rigidité et leur longévité plus grandes ainsi que sur leur entretien plus simple, réduisant les coûts à long terme. Il introduit par ailleurs deux nouvelles charpentes, soit la poutre Schwedler et la poutre parabolique dite « Macquet ». Le pont Turcot se rattache au second modèle par ses cordes supérieures paraboliques et son treillis à double intersection. Il constitue un exemple achevé du génie civil québécois de la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle et de l'utilisation d'une technologie d'inspiration européenne.

Source : Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec, 2009.

Éléments caractéristiques

Les éléments caractéristiques du pont Turcot liés à son intérêt historique comprennent, notamment :
- sa situation en milieu rural, à proximité du noyau villageois, sur la rivière Châteauguay.

Les éléments caractéristiques du pont Turcot liés à son intérêt technologique comprennent, notamment :
- la travée mesurant 76,6 mètres de long et 4,98 mètres de large;
- les matériaux, dont les pièces en acier doux ainsi que les culées en pierre de taille;
- les caractéristiques de la charpente à poutre parabolique Macquet, dont l'assemblage à rivets, les cordes supérieures paraboliques, les cordes inférieures droites, les montants verticaux reliant les cordes supérieures aux culées et aux cordes inférieures, les pièces diagonales des extrémités, le treillis à double intersection, les pièces de contreventement ainsi que les rouleaux de dilatation.

Information historique

Année : 1889 (Construction)
Personnage, groupe et événement :

Charlebois, A. Constructeur
Doran, William Constructeur
Macquet, Gérard Architecte / concepteur
Société Anonyme Internationale de Construction et d'Entreprises de Travaux Publics Constructeur

Gérard Macquet

Profession : Ingénieur

Gérard Macquet est né à Bruges, en Belgique, le 5 décembre 1859.

Macquet entre à l'école préparatoire en 1877 et étudie ensuite à l'école spéciale du génie civil, de laquelle il est diplômé en 1881. Immédiatement après la fin de ses études, il intègre le Corps belge des Ponts et Chaussées.

En 1887, le gouvernement d'Honoré Mercier crée la politique des ponts métalliques. Cette politique encourage la construction de ces ponts, moins vulnérables que ceux en bois, afin d'améliorer le réseau routier de la province de Québec et de faciliter le transport des produits agricoles. Le département des Travaux publics recrute alors le jeune ingénieur belge Gérard Macquet, qui est immédiatement nommé directeur de la construction des ponts . Il est aussi engagé pour favoriser l'usage de la langue française dans les projets d'ingénierie.

Une fois en poste, Macquet préconise la construction de ponts en acier doux entièrement rivetés, comme ceux répandus en Europe. Il introduit ainsi deux nouveaux types de charpentes dans le paysage québécois, soit la poutre Schwedler et la poutre parabolique Macquet. Ces structures sont économiques et simples à ériger. Il rompt avec la pratique courante en Amérique du Nord, qui laisse aux entrepreneurs le soin de décider du type de pont. L'ingénieur et son équipe préparent des plans et des devis très détaillés et écartent ainsi les entrepreneurs de la conception des structures. En 1892, aux prises avec une crise économique, l'État met fin au programme et Macquet est libéré de ses fonctions.

De 1887 à 1892, une trentaine de ponts métalliques conçus par Macquet ont été construits sur le territoire québécois. Il reste aujourd'hui six de ces structures, dont les ponts à poutres paraboliques Macquet de Très-Saint-Sacrement (1889), de Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier (1892) et d'Hébertville (1892), les ponts à poutres Schwedler de Saint-Raymond (1889) et de Saint-Thomas (1892), et le pont à poutres Pratt de Saint-Eugène (1891).

Pendant son passage dans la province de Québec, Macquet a par ailleurs fait partie du premier conseil d'administration de la Société belge de bienfaisance et de protection pour les immigrants, fondée à Québec en 1890.

Synthèse historique

Le pont Turcot est bâti dans le cadre de la Politique des ponts métalliques, instaurée par le gouvernement d'Honoré Mercier (1840-1894) en 1887. La politique encourage la construction de ces ponts, moins vulnérables que ceux en bois, afin d'améliorer le réseau routier et de faciliter le transport des produits agricoles. Les municipalités assument le coût des culées en maçonnerie, de l'aménagement des chemins d'approche et l'équivalent du coût de construction d'un pont en bois, tandis que le gouvernement accorde une subvention couvrant les sommes supplémentaires nécessaires pour faire ériger une structure métallique.

Pour favoriser l'intégration du français comme langue d'usage dans les projets d'ingénierie, le gouvernement engage Gérard Macquet (né en 1859), un ingénieur du Corps belge des Ponts et Chaussées. Celui-ci est nommé directeur de la construction des ponts métalliques. Macquet rompt avec la pratique courante en Amérique du Nord, qui laisse aux entrepreneurs le soin de décider du type de pont. L'ingénieur et son équipe préparent des plans et des devis très détaillés et écartent ainsi les entrepreneurs de la conception des structures. Il préconise par ailleurs les ponts en acier doux entièrement rivetés répandus en Europe en plus d'introduire deux nouvelles charpentes, soit la poutre Schwedler et la poutre parabolique dite « Macquet ». Jusqu'à son départ, en 1892, Macquet supervisera l'élaboration d'une trentaine des ponts construits dans le cadre de la Politique des ponts métalliques.

Le pont Turcot, conçu par Macquet, est le deuxième pont élevé après l'adoption de la Politique. La structure remplace un pont saisonnier à péage sur chevalets, exploité depuis une quarantaine d'années par la famille Turcot, à qui appartient le terrain en bordure du cours d'eau. Le nouveau pont permet aux agriculteurs d'accéder plus facilement au marché de Beauharnois.

En mars 1888, un avant-projet est soumis. Les frais incombant à la municipalité sont acceptés par celle-ci en juin. Les plans et les devis des culées en maçonnerie élaborés par le gouvernement sont reçus peu après. Au même moment, des soumissions pour la fabrication de la structure métallique sont demandées. La Société Anonyme Internationale de Construction et d'Entreprise de travaux publics de Braine-le-Comte, en Belgique, plus bas soumissionnaire, obtient le contrat. Cette entreprise a réalisé plusieurs autres ponts métalliques au Québec à cette époque.

À la demande de la municipalité, les travaux sont reportés au printemps 1889. L'installation des culées nécessite l'ajout d'un pilotis de fondation. William Doran, en charge des travaux, ne respecte pas les délais et seules plusieurs mises en demeure arrivent à lui faire terminer l'ouvrage en septembre. Les agriculteurs des environs aménagent des voies d'approche, faites de pierre et d'argile. Les pièces métalliques fabriquées en Belgique sont acheminées à Howick par bateau puis par train. Le montage de la structure, exécuté par l'entrepreneur A. Charlebois, débute en septembre 1889 et s'achève le 24 décembre. Le coût total des travaux s'élève à 23 285 $. Après son inspection en mars 1890, le pont est ouvert à la circulation.

Peu d'éléments du pont ont été modifiés. Le tablier a été solidifié, notamment grâce au remplacement des poutrelles longitudinales en bois par d'autres en acier et à l'ajout de traverses couvertes de créosote. La charpente demeure intacte, à l'exception de six pièces du treillis qui ont été remplacées par d'autres en acier laminé fixées à l'aide de boulons.

À partir du milieu du XXe siècle, les ponts métalliques font progressivement place à des structures en béton, mais le pont Turcot est conservé. Il est fermé à la circulation en 2000. Les Amis du pont Turcot prennent l'initiative d'en demander le classement pour éviter qu'il ne soit démoli.

Le pont Turcot est classé monument historique en 2009. Il est cité monument historique la même année.

Notices bibliographiques

DANDOIS, Marie-Christine et Jean LEFRANÇOIS. Les ponts Macquet au Québec : Un héritage à conserver. s.l. 4e Conférence spécialisée en génie des structures de la Société canadienne de génie civil, 2002. 10 p.

LEFRANÇOIS, Jean. « Gérard Macquet, un ingénieur visionnaire ». Continuité. Vol. 95 (2003), p. 22-23.

PASSFIELD, Robert W. « La politique des ponts métalliques ». Bulletin Aqpi. Vol. 5, no 3 (1993), p. 1-3.

PASSFIELD, Robert W. « The Turcot Riveted Arch-Truss Bridge ». The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology. Vol. 23, no 2 (1997), p. 21-47.

s.a. Le Haut-Saint-Laurent: de nature et de culture. Québec, Continuité, s.d. 8 p.

Information From Directory of Québec's cultural heritage

English Translation

Description

Turcot Bridge, a historical monument, is a civil engineering structure built in 1889. The bridge of a span measure 76.6 meters long and 4.98 meters wide. The riveted steel structure is composed of farms double parabolic truss intersection. It rests on stone abutments. Located in rural, near the village core, the bridge can span the Turcot Châteauguay River in the municipality of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Usage: Transport, communications and utilities (Bridges and structures)


Heritage

The heritage value of Turcot Bridge based on its historical significance. It is one of the first bridges built as part of the Policy of steel bridges, introduced by the government of Honoré Mercier (1840-1894) in 1887. In the second half of the nineteenth century, municipalities are responsible for the construction of bridges on their territory. Usually made of wood and not covered, these bridges have a lifespan of ten years and are frequently destroyed by floods or ice jams. Their fragility and affects the transportation system and affects the development of agriculture. The Politics of steel bridges was adopted to encourage the construction of metal bridges, stronger. Municipalities bear the cost of the stone abutments, approach roads and the equivalent cost of building a wooden bridge, while the government provides a subsidy to cover the additional funds necessary to erect a steel structure. Fifty bridges were built before the abolition of this policy in 1892. Turcot Bridge, erected in 1889 to cross the Châteauguay River in lieu of a seasonal bridge trestle, is the second of this series. He recalled the efforts made in the late nineteenth century to build roads and improve the circulation of agricultural products.

The heritage value of the bridge Turcot also relies on its association with Gérard Macquet (b. 1859). To promote the integration of French as the language used in engineering projects, the Government urges that Mercier Body Belgian engineer of Roads and Bridges. This was immediately appointed director of the construction of steel bridges. It quickly breaks with common practice in North America, which was only specify the width and scope necessary, leaving the contractors to decide the type of bridge. Macquet and his team prepare plans and specifications and spread very detailed and entrepreneurs in the design of structures. Until his departure in 1892, the engineer overseeing the development of thirty bridges built as part of the Policy and bridges. Few of them remain. Turcot Bridge is therefore an exceptional witness of his work in Quebec.

The heritage value of the bridge Turcot is also based on its technological interest. The book reflects the introduction into Québec of mild steel structures completely riveted. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, North America, several steel bridges were erected, including the rail network. Cast iron is often used, and structures are usually assembled articulated wire pins. This type is rejected by Macquet, who prefers mild steel bridges completely riveted, more prevalent in Europe. Although they are more expensive, the engineer insisted on their stability, rigidity and durability larger and their maintenance easier, reducing costs in the long term. It also introduces two new structures, or the beam and the beam Schwedler dish called "Macquet. Turcot Bridge belongs to the second model in its upper strings and parabolic mesh double intersection. It is a perfect example of the Quebec Civil Engineering of the second half of the nineteenth century and the use of a European-inspired technology.

Source: Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec, 2009.


Characteristic features

The characteristic features of Turcot Bridge linked to its historical interest include the following:
- The situation in rural areas, near the village center, on the Châteauguay River.

The characteristic features of the bridge Turcot related to its technological interest include the following:
- Span measuring 76.6 meters long and 4.98 meters wide;
- Materials including mild steel parts as well as the stone abutments;
- Characteristics of the structural beam parabolic Macquet, whose assembly, rivet, the upper strings dishes, the lower strings straight, the uprights connecting the upper strings at abutments and lower strings, the diagonal parts of the extremities, the lattice double intersection, the pieces of bracing and rolls of expansion.


Historical Information

Year: 1889 (Construction)
Character group and event:
Charlebois, A. Manufacturer
Doran, William Builder
Macquet, Gerard Architect / Designer
Anonymous Society International Building and Construction Companies Manufacturer

Gérard Macquet

Occupation: Engineer

Gérard Macquet was born in Bruges, Belgium, December 5, 1859.

Macquet entered the preparatory school in 1877 and then studied at the special school of civil engineering, from which he graduated in 1881. Immediately after graduation, he joined the Belgian Corps des Ponts et Chaussées.

In 1887, the government of Honoré Mercier creates policy for metal bridges. This policy encourages the construction of these bridges, less vulnerable than wood, to improve the road network in the province of Quebec and facilitate transportation of agricultural products. The Department of Public Works then recruits the young Belgian engineer Gérard Macquet, who was immediately appointed director of bridge construction. It is also committed to promote the use of French in engineering projects.

Once in office, Macquet advocates building bridges completely riveted mild steel, such as those prevalent in Europe. It introduces two new types of structures in the Quebec landscape, or the beam and the beam parabolic Schwedler Macquet. These structures are economical and easy to erect. He broke with accepted practice in North America, leaving entrepreneurs to decide the type of bridge. The engineer and his team prepare plans and specifications and spread very detailed and entrepreneurs in the design of structures. In 1892, facing an economic crisis, the State terminates the program and Macquet is released from his duties.

From 1887 to 1892, thirty steel bridges designed by Macquet were built in Quebec. It is now six of these structures, including bridges beam parabolic Macquet of the Most Blessed Sacrament (1889), Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier (1892) and Hébertville (1892), the girder Schwedler Saint-Raymond (1889) and St. Thomas (1892), and the Pratt truss bridge of Saint-Eugène (1891).

During his time in the province of Quebec, Macquet has also served on the first board of directors of the Belgian Society of beneficence and protection for immigrants, founded in Quebec in 1890.


Historical Synthesis

Turcot Bridge was built as part of the Policy of steel bridges, introduced by the government of Honoré Mercier (1840-1894) in 1887. The policy encourages the construction of these bridges, less vulnerable than wood, to improve the road network and facilitate transportation of agricultural products. Municipalities bear the cost of the stone abutments, development paths of approach and the equivalent cost of building a wooden bridge, while the government provides a subsidy to cover the additional funds necessary to erect a metal structure.

To promote the integration of French as the language used in engineering projects, the government commits Macquet Gerard (born 1859), an engineer of the Corps des Ponts et Chaussées Belgian. It was named director of the construction of steel bridges. Macquet breaks with current practice in North America, which allows entrepreneurs to decide the type of bridge. The engineer and his team prepare plans and specifications and spread very detailed and entrepreneurs in the design of structures. It also calls for mild steel bridges completely riveted prevalent in Europe as well as introducing two new structures, or the beam and the beam Schwedler dish called "Macquet. Until his departure in 1892, Macquet oversee the development of thirty bridges built as part of the Policy and bridges.

Turcot Bridge, designed by Macquet, is the second high bridge after the adoption of the Policy. The structure replaces a seasonal bridge toll on easels, operated for over forty years by the family Turcot, who owns the land along the rivers. The new bridge allows farmers greater access to market Beauharnois.

In March 1888, a draft is submitted. The costs incurred by the municipality are accepted by it in June. Plans and specifications for masonry abutments developed by the government are received soon after. Meanwhile, bids for the manufacture of the metal structure is required. Société Anonyme International Construction and engineering company in Braine-le-Comte, Belgium, lowest bidder gets the contract. This company has completed several other steel bridges in Quebec at that time.

At the request of the municipality, the work is carried forward in the spring of 1889. The installation requires the addition of the abutments of a pile foundation. William Doran, in charge of the work, does not respect the time and only several formal manage to make him finish the book in September. Farmers around ADJUST avenues of approach, made of stone and clay. The metal parts are manufactured in Belgium sent in Howick by boat and train. The assembly of the structure, performed by the Contractor A. Charlebois, began in September 1889 and ends December 24. The total cost amounts to $ 23 285. After his inspection in March 1890, the bridge is opened to traffic.

Few elements of the bridge were changed. The deck has been solidified, including by replacing the longitudinal beams of other wooden and steel sleepers covered the addition of creosote. The framework remains intact, with the exception of six pieces of mesh that were replaced by other rolled steel fixed with bolts.

From the mid-twentieth century, metal bridges are gradually giving way to concrete structures, but the bridge is kept Turcot. It is closed to traffic in 2000. Friends of Turcot Bridge take the initiative to ask for the classification prevent it from being demolished.

Turcot Bridge is a historical monument in 2009. It is a historic monument in the same year.


Bibliographic records

DANDOIS, Marie-Christine and Jean LEFRANÇOIS. Macquet bridges in Quebec: A legacy to preserve. sl 4th Conference specializing in structural engineering from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, 2002. 10 p.

LEFRANÇOIS, John. "Gérard Macquet, a visionary engineer." Continuity. Vol. 95 (2003), p. 22-23.

Passfield, Robert W. "The Politics of steel bridges." Aqpi newsletter. Vol. 5, No. 3 (1993), p. 1-3.

Passfield, Robert W. "The Turcot Riveted Arch-Truss Bridge". The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology. Vol. 23, No. 2 (1997), p. 21-47.

the Upper St. Lawrence: nature and culture.
Quebec, Continuity, s.d. 8 p.

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Pont Turcot

 
View Photo Gallery
2019 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2019 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2011 Structure Overview
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2011 Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2011 Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2011 Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
Overview of historic bridges in Québec.
Full Motion Video
French Language. Video Source: Transports Québec Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Rehabilitation of pont MacKenzie.
Full Motion Video
French Language. Video Source: Transports Québec. This video provides evidence that historic bridges can have a bright future in Québec Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: Pont Turcot

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