Original Champlain Bridge Deconstruction | A mission for each barge

11 May 2021

No fewer than 12 barges are required to perform different tasks and functions to deconstruct the original Champlain Bridge.  

Like pieces in a puzzle, different caissons are nested into each other to create the required shape for each barge depending on the type of work it has to do.   

Examples of barges 

The winch barge will play a crucial role in moving the “River Giant” catamaran barge under the span by safely and accurately perform this delicate operation. The winch barge alone will incur 100% of the River Giant’s hydraulic drag, which refers to the friction of water against the hull of the barge that depends on the speed of the current, size of the hull, water depth, wave height, and wind resistance. This drag can exceed 30 tonnes in some operating zones.  

Photo: Winch barge. 


Photo: Catamaran barge (“River Giant”). 

Transport barge for larger components  

Other barges will be used to dismantle and transport large components, such as the reinforcement trusses that are currently being taken apart (image below). Next winter, one of these barges will be used as a platform to receive the bridge’s central suspension span.  


Photo: Transport barge. 


Most of these barges are already docked at or near the quay berth of the Champlain Bridge Estacade. These vessels will be moving around a lot more in the coming months as the teams deconstruct the original Champlain Bridge step by step to transform the Montreal landscape.