Quebec’s Transport Ministry says preparatory work will begin next week for the long-awaited new Île-aux-Tourtes bridge, a vital link connecting Montreal’s West Island to Vaudreuil-Dorion. Under the plan, there will be the clearance of foliage and geotechnical drilling operations. Some public service equipment in the area will also be relocated.The ministry announced the upcoming work in a statement Friday, saying it’s the first step as the new bridge project gets underway.“These initial interventions will enable this project, which is essential to the mobility of citizens of the Montreal metropolitan area, to begin as soon as possible,” Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault said in a statement.In the meantime, there is repair work being done to the existing Île-aux-Tourtes bridge, which runs along Highway 40. Since last December, the span is down to two open lanes in each direction — leaving users frustrated and stuck in traffic. Trending Now Story continues below advertisement Carpooling drivers, taxis and buses will be able to use the temporary reserved lanes starting Feb. 27. Authorities say police patrols will be boosted in the coming days to ensure drivers respect the reserved lanes.As for building the eventual new bridge, the Quebec government says it will tap a company or a group of companies to take on the project. A contract could be signed as early as spring, which will provide the province with a schedule and a price tag for the new span.Earlier this week, La Presse reported the bill for a new Île-aux-Tourtes bridge would be around $2 billion.The Île-aux-Tourtes bridge was first put into service in 1965. The span is heavily used, with data suggesting about 80,000 vehicles cross the bridge on a daily basis.— with files from Global News’ Elizabeth Zogalis and The Canadian Press © 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.