It is a monumental task and will take at least 3 years to complete, but work on the deconstruction of the Old Champlain Bridge is moving forward. Section by section, piece by piece, the 57 year old span will be carefully dismantled – until all that is left will be nothing but a memory of the millions upon millions of vehicles that crossed over it. Its successor, the new Samuel de Champlain Bridge, opened in June of 2019 and is a testament to all that has been and can be accomplished. It will be the holder of the torch, continuing to connect the Island of Montreal to the South Shore, over the Saint-Lawrence River.
In a press release, JCCBI (Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated) presented the timetable for the deconstruction of the Old Bridge and the methods that Nouvel Horizon Saint-Laurent G.P. (NHSL, the consortium formed by Pomerleau Inc. and Delsan-A.I.M. Environmental Services) will use for the deconstruction, as follows
– NHSL will deconstruct the bridge using three different methods. The deconstruction of the shoreline sections will be carried out from jetties set up along the river using standard equipment (excavators and cranes).
– Work from the river, which will be required for over 65% of the project, will be done with a system of platforms attached to high-capacity lifting towers installed on a catamaran barge. Scheduled to take place from 2021 to 2023, this work will be performed in a controlled environment away from residences, respecting the river environment and the local community.
– Work on the steel structure over the Seaway will begin in the fall and winter of 2021-2022. First, the 2,200-ton suspended span will be removed and lowered onto a barge using strand jacks. This will be followed by the dismantling of the cantilever sections and anchor spans using a crane set up on the jetties and the Seaway dike. The last phase will include the deconstruction of the bridge piers using high capacity excavators in 2023, and the demobilization of the jetties by the end of January 2024.
Old Champlain Bridge deconstruction to date
The deconstruction of the abutment and two spans on Nuns’ Island went well and was carried out to ensure compliance with environmental criteria and with minimum impact to the community. The closure of René-Lévesque Boulevard was unavoidable due to the scope of the work, but every effort was made to limit the closure duration and maintain a safe active transportation corridor.
Old Champlain Bridge deconstruction project highlights
– Research and development: In addition to the deconstruction, 10 research and development projects will be held on various components and aspects of the Bridge, such as its concrete elements, steel structures and reinforcement techniques. The researchers have already begun their work and some components were removed from the structure on Nuns’ Island.
– Environmental protection: A first project to compensate for fish habitat started in Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola in the Saint-Pierre Lake archipelago. This project consists in developing a piece of farmland into a grassy floodplain that will promote fish spawning and protect the area’s biodiversity. It should also be noted that the impacts of the deconstruction will be limited to the duration of the work, whereas the impacts of the compensation projects are permanent. The overall long-term effect will be positive.
The CEO of JCCBI Sandra Martel, stated, “This ambitious deconstruction project poses enormous technical and environmental challenges. NHSL has begun working on Nuns’ Island, which is a successful first step. The methods chosen for work on the river are innovative and will minimize the impact on local residents… we ensure constant follow-up with NHSL to make sure that exemplary OHS measures are in place at the work site.” Project Director of NHSL Fabrice Guédon also stated, “We are very proud to contribute to this major deconstruction project that is on a scale never before seen in Quebec while respecting the environment and communities. Our know-how, combined with JCCBI’s high standards, will help us apply sustainable approaches that we hope will inspire new deconstruction practices for future projects.” For more details or to follow the project go to: https://jacquescartierchamplain.ca/community-heritage/structures-and-projects/champlain-bridge-deconsruction/site-works/chantier-3/?lang=en