New Champlain Bridge – It has been almost four years since construction to replace the deteriorating, 50 year old Champlain Bridge began. The work on the new bridge was supposed to be finished and expected to open in December of 2018 – but to very few people’s surprise, the consortium in charge of the project announced that the opening would be delayed until June of 2019. They claimed the main issue behind the delay was due to the illegal crane operators’ strike that took place last May and June. The crane operators had refused to work overtime, as well as on several weekend days, adding up to a total loss of 17 working days. Skepticism is sure to abound, but now it appears they are actually on schedule to open part of it on June 3rd 2019.
On June 3rd, the northbound lanes towards Montreal are supposed to open, with the southbound lanes only opening on June 17th – and at the same time the old Champlain Bridge will be permanently closed. The old bridge will slowly be dismantled starting in the winter of 2020 when shipping traffic on the Saint Lawrence Seaway is closed and is scheduled to be finished by 2022.
The project has been the center of Montreal’s traffic woes, adding to the many other badly needed infrastructure and roadwork projects taking place all over the island. Detours, orange cones and unforeseen problems have turned the city into one big gridlock – with effects trickling down into the public transit system and even for cyclists and pedestrians. Let’s hope this time around, relief will come with the expected opening date being met.