Champlain Bridge Sector

As the main gateway to Montreal, the Champlain Bridge is one of Canada’s busiest bridges. It plays an important role in the Canadian economy.

Everyone agrees that the Champlain Bridge provides the best view of downtown Montreal.

The bridge has six (6) lanes (three (3) in each direction) separated by a concrete median in the middle. A reserved rush-hour bus lane has been in effect on the Champlain Bridge since 1982. The Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), the provincial agency responsible for public transit, manages the reserved lane.

On October 5, 2011, the Government of Canada announced that the Champlain Bridge would be replaced with a new one. In November 2015, management of the north and south approaches of the Champlain Bridge and of the federal section of Highway 15 was transferred to Signature on the Saint Lawrence, the consortium responsible for the New Champlain Bridge Corridor project. The transfer includes operations, maintenance and traffic management over these sections.

The Corporation is currently responsible for the operations, maintenance and management of the Champlain Bridge (from abutment to abutment), the federal section of the Bonaventure Expressway, the Champlain Bridge Ice Control Structure, the Île des Sœurs bypass bridge, along with the other structures described in this section.

 

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History

On August 17, 1955, the Honourable George Marler, federal Minister of Transport, announced that a toll bridge would be built from Île des Sœurs to the South Shore. In June 1955, the National Harbours Board was put in charge of the project.

At first, the bridge was called the “Nun’s Island Bridge,” as it crossed over Île Saint-Paul, which was also known as Île des Sœurs (or Nun’s Island). In 1958, it was officially named the Champlain Bridge in honour of Samuel de Champlain, who founded the city of Québec in 1608.

The bridge was opened on June 28, 1962 without an official ceremony. At the time, the only approach to the bridge was from Wellington Street in Montreal. Since its opening in 1962, it was a toll bridge; the toll was abolished on May 4, 1990 at 12:00 p.m.

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Bonaventure Expressway

Bonaventure Expressway was built as a third approach to the Champlain Bridge and a road to the downtown area. It became the main access road to the Expo 67 site. Bonaventure Expressway was inaugurated on April 21, 1967, seven days before the start of Expo 67.

Corridor_Champlain_historique3-smallÎle des Sœurs bypass bridge

Construction of the bypass bridge between Montreal and Île des Sœurs started in August 2013, and the structure was inaugurated in December 2014. The bypass goes around the original Île des Sœurs bridge, which is being replaced as part of the New Champlain Bridge Corridor (NCBC) project. The bypass bridge has the same number of lanes as the previous bridge as well as a wider bicycle path and a reserved public transit lane.

See the construction of this new bridge in 150 seconds:

Environmental assessment

 

Ice Control Structure

The Champlain Bridge Ice Control Structure was built between 1964 and 1965 to control ice jams and ice flow in the La Prairie Basin. It was also built to reduce erosion of the islands around Montreal, particularly those built for Expo 67.

Today, the ice control structure is an essential way for workers to access the seaway dike, allowing to reduce the number of closures on the Champlain Bridge.

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Construction

The construction of the Champlain Bridge cost approximately $35 million in 1962. If the approaches and Bonaventure Expressway are included, the total cost was approximately $52 million.

The construction of the ice control structure cost approximately $18 million in 1965.

Construction on the Île des Sœurs bypass bridge was completed ahead of the timeline and under budget, at a cost of approximately $51 million in 2014.

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Maintenance

Many repairs to the sector have been carried out over the years.

Major repair program for the Champlain Bridge, 2009 – 2018

  • Effective management of major work on one of Canada’s busiest bridges.
  • Unique technology (e.g. modular trusses) developed to keep the bridge safe until it is replaced.
  • Installation of sensors to monitor the structure’s behaviour day and night.
  • Management of a large-scale emergency operation in November 2013 (“Superbeam Operation”) while keeping the bridge open to traffic. 

Reinforcement of the ice control structure deck and construction of a dedicated bike path, 2015 – 2016

Bonaventure Expressway deck repair and replacement, 2008 2015

  • Major repair project in a key urban area.
  • Use of innovative demolition technology to efficiently reduce dust and debris.

Redecking of the Champlain Bridge’s steel structure, 1991 – 1992

  • First replacement in Canada of a concrete deck with a fully field-welded steel deck.
  • Prix Méritas from the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) in recognition of the exceptional quality of this complex project.

Painting of the steel structure, 1983 – 2005

  • Full repainting of the Champlain Bridge steel structure.

 

Normal traffic lane configuration

Weekdays

Mornings from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

  • Three lanes open towards Montreal.
  • Reserved contraflow bus lane toward Montreal.
  • Two lanes open towards the South Shore.

Daytime

  • Three lanes open towards Montreal.
  • Three lanes open towards the South Shore.
  • Maintenance and inspection works frequently occur daily between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. leading to one lane in either direction to be closed.

Evenings from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • Three lanes open towards the South Shore.
  • Reserved contraflow bus lane towards the South Shore.
  • Two lanes open towards Montreal.

Reserved bus lanes managed by the AMT (more information)

Nights

  • Three lanes open in each direction.
  • Maintenance and inspection works are frequently carried out at night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. leading to one or two of the three lanes in either direction to be closed.

Weekends

  • Three lanes open in each direction