Photo : Alcan
Alcan's "Roberval-Saguenay" railway

The reconstruction of Alcan's "Roberval-Saguenay" railway, began right at the start of August 1996 and were completed in record time, four months later. Normally, work of this magnitude needs an 18-month delay. The railway network reconstruction cost 20 million dollars and the new railroad uses pretty much the same course.


The July 1996 torrential rains and he resulting floods are some of the most important natural disasters of Quebec's recorded history. Material losses were estimated at around 500 million dollars. Among other things, 840 businesses were hit at different levels, more than 600 homes were destroyed and 850 heavily damaged. The total cost of the disaster rose to over one billion dollars.

In the Chicoutimi district alone, between mid-August and mid-November 1996, hundreds of construction sites were started up, mobilising thousands of workers in different sectors of the industry. The reconstruction works cost over 60 million dollars.

In all, 57 of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean's municipalities sustained some level of damage, 27 of which the amount was well over 100 000$ . La Baie, Chicoutimi, Jonquière, Laterrière and l'Anse-Saint-Jean were the most affected by the floods of July 1996.
The work in the Pont-Arnaud and Chute-à-Garneau sector, in the Chicoutimi district, needed, in all, 61 150 working hours going from work management to engineering including land surveying. On the whole of the gigantic construction site, over 40 000 kilometres were travelled by different types of vehicles. The cost of the project was 20 million dollars. The works to stabilise the banks of the Chicoutimi River were also started, excavating around 15 000 cu. Metres of sand, gravel and the filling up of 12 000 cu. Meters of rock.

In September 1996, the reconstruction work on the Alcan pumping station, located on the banks of the Chicoutimi River, were started. Costing 6 million dollars, the works, which took place 24 hours a day, 7 days a weed, were completed at the end of December. The new station was built on solid rock at around 200 metres from he old building, which had been built on clay.


The Route 170 reconstruction works
Photo : Hydro-Québec

In L'Anse-Saint-Jean, the Route 170 reconstruction works needed the complete reconfiguration of the Muraille streambed running along the road.


The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Street damages required the construction of two contour lanes on private properties in order to rapidly re-establish circulation.


On December 31st 1996, over 9 million dollars in compensation were handed out to the L'Anse-Saint-Jean community, 78% of which were taken for reconstruction work.

The La Baie district was the hardest hit by the July 1996 floods. The reconstruction work was impressive and spread out on a period lasting around three years. More than 300 million dollars were invested to complete the hundreds of construction sites underway.


Over 1 000 people and 300 heavy load vehicles were mobilised in the La Baie district reconstruction works. Around 100 000 cu. Metres of sand, gravel and rock that were carried by the À-Mars and Ha! Ha! Rivers had to be excavated. More than 700 000 cu. Metres of rock were taken from different quarries to fill in he sectors eroded by the water.


Photo : Hydro-Québec

In the La Baie district, the riverbed stabilisation works of the À-Mars and Ha! Ha! Rivers were the cause of environmental worries. For instance, makeshift bridges were temporarily set up so that heavy machinery wouldn't pass on the two riverbeds.