Champlain Bridge Sector

Edge girder reinforcement program now complete

The year 2017 marks the end of the edge girder reinforcement program for the Champlain Bridge. Since 2014, $378 million has been invested to perform major repairs on the bridge and to maintain this key economic corridor. Overall, the bridge’s 100 edge girders are now reinforced with 94 modular trusses and 6 shoring systems developed for low clearance areas.

This reinforcement work has greatly decreased any risks posed by the edge girders. Thanks to this program, the Champlain Bridge’s general condition has stabilized.

Modular trusses: an innovative reinforcement method

Due to the lack of an adequate drainage system and a lack of knowledge in the 1960s about how to use deicing salts, major corrosion problems developed over the years that specifically affected the edge girders on each side of the bridge. The Corporation had to find an innovative solution to cope with this problem.

Our teams custom-designed the first modular truss manufactured in Quebec and installed it in June 2014 to replace the super beam. This operation was a success, and we applied this innovative solution to the majority of the edge girders.

What do the modular trusses do?

The modular trusses are additional steel structures that support the full load of the edge girders. They are installed under the girders and rest on the bridge piers. These structural elements will fully compensate for any current or future deterioration of the edge girders. Each truss weighs 56,000 kg and is 4.7 meters high and 50 meters long.

How are the modular trusses installed?

The modular trusses are delivered in three sections from the plant to the assembly site near the Champlain Bridge. At the site, teams assemble the sections into 50-metre-long trusses, which cover a full span.

Each modular truss is then carried by truck onto the bridge (for installation from the bridge deck) or under the bridge (for installation from a barge). Two cranes then lift each truss and position it under the edge girder.

The truss is then fixed to the structure with a connector, after which the cylinders are tensioned.

Will there be other major traffic restrictions before the new Champlain Bridge is opened?

Since the Champlain Bridge has reached the end of its service life, major work will be required before the new bridge is opened to ensure user safety. JCCBI’s teams are constantly monitoring the structure’s behaviour and coordinating an impressive number of projects to repair and reinforce the bridge. However, 90% of the work will be done from the river, which will limit the traffic closures and the impact on users.

The Champlain Bridge is the main gateway to Montreal, as nearly 60 million vehicles cross the bridge every year. It therefore plays a key role in the Canadian economy. Given the unique challenges of this aging infrastructure, JCCBI is putting every effort into making sure users can safely cross the structure until the new bridge opens.