13 April 2017
As the manager of the Honoré Mercier Bridge from 1934 to 1942, the Corporation du Pont du Lac Saint-Louis oversaw the construction of this fourth connection between Montreal and the South Shore.
Did you know that the Honoré Mercier Bridge was the first bridge in Quebec built without English Canadian or foreign engineers?
Eleven French-Canadian engineers, all of whom graduated from the École Polytechnique de Montréal, joined their efforts to work on this vast project. The Honoré Mercier Bridge was the first structure of its kind built only by French Canadians.
The work was not without its stumbling blocks. Economic instability limited provincial funding, and a thick layer of ice over the river forced the engineers to come up with innovative techniques to deal with the weather conditions. These creative engineers decided to build the bridge on pneumatic caissons, a method that hadn’t been used for many years.
Despite the technical challenges, the work finished 10 months ahead of schedule, and the two-lane bridge opened for traffic on June 22, 1934. The bridge’s management was transferred to the Government of Quebec in 1942.
Created to encourage visits from American tourists, the structure provided faster access to the state of New York, but motorists had to pay a toll to cross the bridge. At first, the toll was 50 cents, but it was then reduced to 25 cents before being abolished in 1962.