Construction begins on Champlain Bridge replacement
Published Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 3, 2013 2:12PM EDT
Work has begun on the replacement for the replacement of the Champlain Bridge.
Federal infrastructure minister Denis Lebel was in Montreal on Oct. 2 to attend a groundbreaking ceremony on the temporary causeway from Montreal to Nuns' Island.
The temporary bypass will be located north of the existing Highway 15 structure that connects the two islands and leads to the Champlain Bridge. It will also be closer to the Bonaventure Expressway.
It is set to be finished in 2015, and its construction and planning are expected to tally a $92.2 million price tag.
The seven-lane structure will include a reserved bus lane and room for cyclists and pedestrians.
Once the causeway is completed, the federal government will begin constructing the permanent replacement for the Champlain Bridge.
The current structure is in poor shape and nearing the end of its lifespan, requiring $60 million in repairs to survive the next two years. with an additional $250 million to maintain the Champlain Bridge for the decade it will take to build a replacement.
The cement beams which span the river are deteriorating and will be patched up with fiber-reinforced plastic.
"The bridge still is within code,” confirmed Glen Carlin, general manager of the Jacques Cartier-Champlain Bridge Corporation.
“It’s important for us to be intervening at the right place and at the right time.”
The planning process is still underway for the bridge’s permanent replacement. The bridge may also include light rail transit, bicycle lanes, and a pedestrian walkway
The federal government wants to impose tolls to help with the cost-- an idea many Quebecers object to.
“Given the history, and given the progressive deterioration of the bridge and the ongoing repairs, it is very difficult to pinpoint that cost,” said bridge engineer Hellen Christodoulou. She says the bridge’s maintenance costs have historically been underestimated.
The new bridge is set to be completed by 2021.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story indicated the causeway would stretch over the St. Lawrence river, from Nuns' Island to the South Shore. The causeway will actually go from Montreal to Nuns' Island.