Monsarrat, Pratley & Strauss

23 February 2017

“Three times the charm” is a saying that applies to the history of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, as two projects for a bridge to relieve increased car traffic between Montreal and the South Shore were abandoned due to a lack of government support . However, a third project was accepted in 1924 after the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal finally persuaded the government to finance the bridge.

Consulting engineers Charles Nicholas Monsarrat , Philip Louis Pratley and their associate, Joseph Baermann Strauss, partnered for this project, and together they chose the location of the future bridge, prepared the plans and drafted the estimâtes.

Who were these men who designed the Jacques Cartier Bridge?

Charles Nicholas Monsarrat (1871-1940) was a Canadian bridge designer. After graduating from private school  in Montreal, Monsarrat worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway and became its chief engineer of bridges in 1903. In 1921, he founded a firm with Philip Louis Pratley, and they worked as consulting, design and supervising engineers. Monsarrat was responsible for the design and for overseeing the construction site of the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Philip Louis Pratley (1884-1958) was a consulting engineer who was born in Germany. After immigrating to Montreal in 1906, he worked on the design and construction of many long-span bridges.

Joseph Baermann Strauss (1870-1938) was an American engineer of German descent who was the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, one of the seven wonders of the modern world. A prolific engineer, he helped build 400 drawbridges in the United States. His dream was to build “the biggest thing of its kind that a man could build.”