Bridge repairs to cause weekend traffic troubles
Published Saturday, May 17, 2014 6:40PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 17, 2014 6:58PM EDT
MONTREAL-- Traffic headaches are in store for commuters attempting to travel between Montreal and Nun's Island this long weekend.
Contractors have set out to accomplish several major repairs.
Goals for the weekend include: repaving part of the Champlain Bridge, install beams for the new Nun’s Island bypass, and removing the super beam on the bridge.
The super beam was installed last November after a crack was discovered in one of the bridge’s supports. Contractors plan to install a truss that should close the crack, and allow for the removal of the super beam from on top of the bridge.
“Right now for a permanent solution we are installing a modern truss underneath [the bridge],” said Jean-Vincent Lacroix, a spokesperson for Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporate. ”This support will be there until the bridge is replaced.”
The current plan is to use floating cranes to lift the truss and install it underneath the bridge. Once that has been installed, the super beam can be dismantled. Doing so will restore the lanes on the bridge to their full width.
“The goal is not to add closures,” explained Lacroix. “But to insert this operation into closures that have already been planned.”
Considering the extent of repairs being done, the bridge authority is recommending that commuters avoid the bridge if they can while repairs are underway.
Only a single lane will be open on Highway 15, heading both North and South.
The Champlain Bridge heading towards Montreal has been reduced down to only two lanes and there's only one lane open on the bridge heading to the South Shore.
“Really the one you want to avoid is the Champlain Bridge,” advised Lacroix. “But if you have no choice but to use it, the better option is to pass by the Bonaventure Expressway.”
While the plan is to install the truss underneath the Champlain Bridge this weekend, strong winds make it unsafe to lift the truss with a crane. Depending on the weather, repairs might have to be pushed back to next Saturday,
Regardless, the bridge is set to completely reopen by Tuesday.