New Champlain Bridge completion in sight – But when?


New Champlain Bridge – Construction to replace the deteriorating, 50 year old Champlain Bridge began in June of 2015, with the New Champlain Bridge expected to open 42 months later in December of 2018. But the question on many people’s minds, especially those who commute by car, is whether it will be ready on time.

TheNew Champlain Bridge has become the hub 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. Businesses have also been greatly affected.

The consortium in charge of the project has given a completion date of this December 21st 2018. Given the delays, it seems like a long shot at this point – but they are sticking to that date for now.

The main issue behind the potential delay stems from the illegal crane operators’ strike that took place last May and June. Crane operators refused to work overtime, as well as on several weekend days, adding up to a total loss of 17 working days – creating considerable delays to the construction schedule. But the consortium may just be inclined to find a way to meet the deadline. According to their contract signed in 2015, they could receive heavy penalties up to $100,000 per day for the first seven days, and as high as $400,000 per day after a week – if the project isn’t finished by December 21st. The cost of the bridge has already increased by $235 million due to construction delays and transportation costs of heavy materials needed to build it. As it stands now, the bridge is expected to cost $4.2 billion.

A time-lapse video of one of the first installations of the box girders slabs that took place over one weekend last spring from the eastern approach over Rte. 132 in Brossard

Even if the bridge opens on time, there will still be ongoing work attached to it such as: the new Autoroute 10 approach, a new Ile-des-SÅ“urs bridge and highway, as well as improvements to sections of Autoroute 15. And although access to the new bridge will be ready, there is also still plenty of work to be done around the Turcot Interchange and it is only expected to be fully complete by 2020 – but the opening of the new bridge will considerably ease congestion for drivers in the Cote St. Luc / NDG area.

The 3.4 km long new bridge was designed to serve as a ‘gateway into the City of Montreal – an asymmetric cable-stayed bridge with a 168-meter-high concrete tower and stay cables in a harp arrangement’. It will include a two-lane rail corridor for the Reseau Express Metropolitain (REM), a six lane corridor for vehicles and a multi-use corridor for cyclists and pedestrians.

The New Bridge is starting to take shape and if you have crossed the old bridge recently it is an impressive sight indeed. At the end of June, the East Approach workers finished laying the 10 W-shaped pieces, marking a very important step for the project. At the West Approach, the installation work is complete, crowning the missing piles of the steel pier caps. On July 13th, the end of the installation of the 37 pier caps on the bridge took place. The next step will be the completion of the installation of the box girders.

Bonnie Wurst – [email protected]
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