Design unveiled for Champlain Bridge replacement
The federal government has chosen a design by Danish architect Poul Ove Jensen to replace the Champlain Bridge.
The design includes three lanes in each direction for traffic, a separated span for public transit and bicycle and pedestrian paths.
While the previous Parti Quebecois government had been hoping for a twin-level bridge, those ideas have been rejected by the federal government in favour of what is a simple and elegant design.
The architect hopes that the new bridge with its central support for a suspension system will become an internationally-recognized landmark.
Meanwhile there is no guarantee that the new bridge will keep the Champlain name.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel said that in conversations the name that keeps coming up is Maurice Richard, the famous Montreal Canadiens' hockey player, however Lebel would not commit to any name.
By the same token, Lebel wouldn't say exactly how much a toll would cost, saying that is a matter for the future.
The designer stated his vision at a press conference Friday.
"When you design such a large bridge, you have a unique opportunity that is much more than a solution to your traffic problem and the design team has been determined that this opportunity must not be missed," said Jensen. “It has been our ambition that the new bridge should provide an exciting experience for those crossing the St. Lawrence and also that it should have the potential to become a landmark that people around the world will associate with Montreal.”
Six private consortiums have been deemed qualified to bid on the contract and three will be short-listed next month. The bridge will be required to last 125 years but the construction company will decide on the materials.
Expropriation along Highway 15
Before construction begins 15 houses in its path will be expropriated. Federal officials said they would meet with those homeowners in the days to come in order to work out a settlement for buying the land.
Infrastructure Canada says the bridge will be completed by 2018, and during its construction will need 30,000 workers.
"Whether it's the 30, A25, the Port Mann Bridge in B.C., we have a lot of comparisons and that number is in line with those projects," said Marc Brazeau.
In addition to ironworkers and welders, Brazeau said many people will be needed to transport material to the job sites and to sort out the logistical efforts.