History of the Original Champlain Bridge
The Original Champlain Bridge was decommissioned on July 1, 2019 after 57 years as an essential corridor for Montrealers and the development of Greater Montreal.
On August 17, 1955, the Honourable George Marler, the federal Minister of Transport at the time, announced that a toll bridge would be built over 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 Quebec City in 1608. At first, the structure was referred to as the Île des Sœurs Bridge, as it touched ground on this island. It was quickly renamed for the 350th anniversary of Quebec City.
This toll bridge opened on June 28, 1962 without an official ceremony. At the time, the only approach to the bridge was from Wellington Street in Montreal. The Champlain Bridge had six lanes—three in each direction—and a concrete median.
The construction of the Champlain Bridge cost approximately $35 million in 1962. Including the approaches and Bonaventure Expressway, the total cost was approximately $52 million.
In 1978, The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc. was incorporated and became responsible for the Champlain Bridge, the Jacques Cartier Bridge, and a section of the Bonaventure Expressway and Highway 15.
In 1982, the Corporation introduced a reserved against-traffic bus lane during rush hour. Although meant to be temporary, this bus lane was used to transport 30,000 people per peak hour until the bridge closed in 2019.
The toll was abolished on May 4, 1990 at 12:00 p.m.
On October 5, 2011, the Government of Canada announced that the Champlain Bridge would be replaced with a new one.
During an inspection in November 2013, a crack was detected on an edge girder towards the South Shore. The Corporation installed a 75-tonne super beam to stabilize the cracked girder.
In Spring 2014, the super beam was replaced with a modular truss. This innovative and highly effective reinforcement method was then deployed on all 100 edge girders from 2014 to 2018.
In November 2015, management of the north and south approaches of the Champlain Bridge and the federal section of Highway 15 was transferred to Signature on the Saint Lawrence, the consortium responsible for the New Champlain Bridge Corridor project.
On July 1, 2019, the original Champlain Bridge was officially closed to traffic, and motorists started travelling on the new Samuel De Champlain Bridge.
Champlain Bridge Estacade
The Estacade 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 created for Expo 67.
The construction of the Estacade cost approximately $18 million in 1965.
Since 2016, the Estacade has had a dedicated bicycle path that serves as a key cycling connection to the seaway dike.