26 May 2017
A graduate of the École Polytechnique de Montréal and the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, engineer Roméo Valois co-founded the Lalonde et Valois consulting engineering firm. Although the National Harbours Board was tasked with managing the construction of the Champlain Bridge in 1955, engineering consulting firm Pratley de Montréal was hired to create the plans and specifications and oversee the work. These engineers decided to partner with Lalonde et Valois to enhance the project coordination.
What do we know about Lalonde et Valois?
Valois partnered with a former classmate, Jean-Paul Lalonde, in a bold move to found his own engineering company in 1936. That year, the Quebec ministry of highways injected $50 million in the construction of roads and bridges. As the pair wanted to work on the problem of soil bearing capacity, a year later they acquired National Boring and Sounding, a company that specialized in the study of land that supports building, bridge and tunnel foundations.
The firm was able to expand its business even amidst the economic turmoil caused by the Second World War. Lalonde and Valois worked on major national projects, including over two hundred projects that dealt with major construction, school expansions, and renovations.
Quebec engineering comes into its own
Despite the heavy involvement of foreign engineers in major construction projects, the alumni association of the École Polytechnique de Montréal succeeded in positioning its graduates at the highest levels of the province’s civil service. After the launch of the $50-million transportation infrastructure program, Francophone engineers from Quebec moved into leadership positions for important infrastructure projects, such as the Champlain Bridge and the Honoré Mercier Bridge.