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Operation “super beam” on the Champlain Bridge

29 November 2018

November 29, 2013 – The Support Beam operation was developed over the past few years in order to respond in the event that a Champlain Bridge girder could not be secured by isolated reinforcement measures.

A 75-tonne steel beam was installed above a cracked beam to reinforce the weakened section of the bridge. This was a first for the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) and the Champlain Bridge.

To install the beam, four lanes of traffic had to be closed for two days. This measure was only temporary, as the “super-beam” was removed and replaced with a permanent modular truss in spring 2014.

Since 2009, two robust support systems have been designed, built and stored in the event of such a possibility.

Phase 1: Stabilize the situation and secure the girder

The first step consists of transporting to the bridge approaches the five sections of the massive steel beam, which until now has been stored near the Jacques Cartier Bridge. This beam will be assembled near the bridge and then moved using a long-load dolly onto the bridge, where two cranes will pick it up and place it just above the girder that requires reinforcement.

The support beam will then be installed above the existing girder across its entire length and attached at the piers. Enormous steel rods anchored to the support beam will be lowered beneath the girder in order to fully support it. Once this girder has been secured, we will begin the process of reopening the traffic lanes that are currently closed.

It should be noted that this support beam will result in the width of the open lanes being reduced. This temporary situation will only last until the second phase of the operation. The objective is to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible, secure the girder, and then launch phase 2 once traffic has been re-established.

Phase 2: Install a permanent support structure

Phase 2 will consist of installing steel modular truss from below, which will be attached to the span’s two piers. This grating will also support the girder across its entire length, like the support beam installed in the first phase.

Installation of the permanent support (modular truss) will begin in spring 2014 due to the difficulties of carrying out this operation in winter conditions. Once this second phase is completed, the support beam will be removed and the full lane width will be re-established on the bridge.

Height: 3 meters Length: 56 meters Weight: 75 tons