The Quebec government is moving ahead with an exploratory study for a third link — either another bridge or a tunnel — between Quebec City and Lévis. Véronyque Tremblay, the province's junior transport minister, made the announcement Monday, confirming the funding of $20.5 million for the project office announced in last spring's budget. The objective, she said, is to properly document traffic numbers and patterns, the impact of congestion on commuters and truckers, as well as all the possible solutions. Tragedy and pride mark 100th anniversary of Quebec City's historic bridge The study will cover the entire region, from Île d'Orléans in the east to St-Augustin-de-Desmaures in the west. "It's a priority project for our government," Tremblay said. "Certainly, if we're investing $20.5 million, it's because we believe there is a need." Lévis Mayor Gilles Lehouillier, who made an added link a key part of his election campaign earlier this fall, welcomed the announcement. "Traffic congestion is our number one problem and it's essential for us to find solutions. The third link is absolutely essential to ensure mobility throughout the region," he said. Mayor Labeaume skeptical But the reaction was cooler from his colleague on the other side of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume. "It's about time that we heard from the professionals who can give us the technical, scientific and financial answers on this project, because until now, we've been hearing all kinds of things and some of it contradictory," Lebeaume said.  "The population needs to know the facts." Labeaume says he's worried that if, for example, the study ultimately recommended a bridge-tunnel project in the eastern part of the city, linking Île d'Orléans to the north shore, the traffic impact on Quebec City would be substantial. Another option is to build a third bridge west of the existing two bridges. Either way, Labeaume, "we'll support a third link only if it is clearly demonstrated that there is a net gain, a very clear gain, for Quebec City taxpayers." 2020 deadline A preliminary report outlining the needs for the region is expected by the end of 2018, and a detailed study on