This year will be the busiest and most expensive in terms of construction on Montreal-area bridges.

Another major period of construction on the Champlain Bridge will soon start, along with work on the Mercier and Jacques Cartier Bridges.

The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, which oversees all three bridges, is aiming to schedule the work in such a way that lanes will only be closed on one bridge at a time, but warns their timetable is subject to change.

The work on the Champlain will largely take place in two "blitzes" -- one next month and another in the fall.

The bridge corporation has set aside $147 million this year for repairs on the Champlain – triple the amount from last year, says Steve Tselios, engineering director.

“The reason for that is we want to be really proactive, reinforce a lot of the beams we have problems with so we don't get into any future problems like we did last year,” he said.

“Several contractors” will be on site 24 hours a day at various spots on the bridge, as well as on Highway 15 and the Nuns’ Island Bridge.

During at least seven weekends in May and June, and then again in September and October, three to four lanes out of six will be closed on the bridge.

Over the weekend of May 17, the so-called “superbeam” is to be removed.

After that, all the lanes on the Champlain will be back to their regular width.

Preemptive work will be done on the bridge in order to shore it up before it’s replaced.

That includes the installation of new sensors, which will help inspectors monitor the bridge at all hours of the day.

Meanwhile, on the federal section of the Mercier Bridge, the entire concrete deck must be replaced.

That work will take place over seven weeks, from June 21 to Aug. 10.

During that time, there will only be one lane available in each direction.

A traffic ban on trucks during the morning and evening rush hour will be implemented in to ease traffic.

A reserved bus lane will also be put in place.

The bridge corporation is advising motorists to take the Champlain Bridge or Highway 30 to get to Montreal during that time.

The good news is that the majority of the construction and maintenance on the Champlain and Jacques Cartier Bridge will take place underneath the bridges, so the impact on traffic shouldn't be too bad.

The work on the Jacques Carter consists of routine maintenance, says the bridge corporation

Also slated for this year:

  • Repairs on the Bonaventure Expressway, which will see two lanes out of six closed from May to December,
  • A new Nuns’ Island bypass bridge,
  • And the extension of the Champlain Bridge’s reserved bus lane.

To keep up to date with the work schedule on each bridge,drivers can visit the bridge corporation's three blogs:

Preliminary roadwork calendar for Champlain, Mercier, Jacques Cartier. (FR)