The federal government and the consortium building the new Champlain Bridge have reached a settlement paving the way for the new span to open in December.

Officials say the opening date for Montreal's new bridge over the St. Lawrence River is now Dec. 21 instead of Dec. 1.

The project has been challenging due to load restrictions on the old bridge that delayed the transportation of oversized pieces destined for the new span.

Signature on the Saint Lawrence, a consortium led by engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin, and Ottawa announced an agreement today.

It resolves issues such as cost overruns and puts an end to legal action filed by the consortium in Quebec Superior Court.

As part of the deal, the price tag for the $4.2-billion project will increase by $235 million to cover construction delays and transportation costs of oversized parts.

The deal also included delays for late delivery of the bridge. The consortium will be fined $100,000 per day for the first seven days of delays, a number which will then get bumped up to $400,000 per day.