A third southbound lane reopened to traffic on the Champlain Bridge Friday afternoon, with the installation of a new support beam now complete.

The three lanes will only be open during afternoon rush hours and when there is heavy traffic, said Jean-Vincent Lacroix, director of communications for Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc.

Nearly six weeks ago, crews discovered a crack in one of the bridge’s support beams.

The superbeam, as it was deemed, was installed three weeks ago to prevent a section of the bridge deck from crumbling.

The southbound lanes have been narrowed to accommodate the newly-installed support beam. There will no longer be any reserved bus lane for morning rush hour as a result of the reduced driving space.

The speed limit on the southbound part of the span has been reduced to 50 km/h to force motorists to reduce their speed.

The northbound lanes however, will not be noticeably affected by the presence of the support beam, and will remain open as usual to traffic.

But while traffic woes on one bridge improve, they are set to worsen on another, over the weekend.

All South Shore-bound lanes of the Mercier Bridge will be closed Saturday from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The closing is necessary to carry out repairs on the roadway on the federal section on the span.

Both Montreal-bound lanes will remain open during the work.

The problems on Champlain Bridge prompted authorities to delay work on the Mercier to alleviate congestion heading toward the South Shore.