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Old Champlain Bridge to be Deconstructed

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

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As construction of Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge nears completion, the government of Canada recently named a firm that will be spearheading work to deconstruct the old bridge, a process that is slated to take three years and cost $400 million CAD (roughly $300 million).

According to the Daily Hive Montreal, deconstruction work is slated to begin in the months after the opening of the new bridge, which is currently slated for June.

Champlain Bridge History

The original bridge, opened in 1962, is a steel truss cantilever structure, spanning the St. Lawrence River and Seaway, and is located between the Honoré Mercier and Victoria bridges.

The 6-kilometer-long (3.7-mile) bridge cost $35 million to build, with Atlas Construction Company Limited awarded the contract to build the four piers supporting the steel structure in one section. The largest contract, totaling $8.319 million, went to three companies that formed a partnership known as MKD: McNamara (Quebec) Limited, The Key Construction Inc. and Deschamps & Bélanger Limitée, for the construction of the piers in another section, as well as a 8,096-foot-long structure in the same section.

The original Champlain Bridge was also something of a first for Canada: This was the first major project for the country in which prestressed concrete girders with Freyssinet tension cables were used to give the structure additional strength. The bridge reportedly deteriorated due to deicing salts and inefficient drainage. Guy Mailhot, chief engineer with project owner Infrastructure Canada, noted that it cost the firm $100 million annually just to maintain the old structure.

In early January, the opening of the new bridge was reportedly delayed due to harsh conditions, and those responsible for building the bridge faced penalties as a result. The $4.2 billion CAD project, replacing the old bridge, features an asymmetrical cable-stayed span, as well as another 5 kilometers of highway improvements, according to The Engineering News-Record.

Deconstructing Work

Earlier this month, The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated was chosen as the firm to do deconstruction work on the old bridge. According to a press release from the Canadian government, in 2017, JCCBI commissioned a pre-planning study to examine different options for deconstructing the old Champlain Bridge. The $400 million CAD total also covers material recovery, asset development and retaining experts to support the firm for the project.

“Given its mandate, The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated is best positioned to undertake the deconstruction of the Champlain Bridge,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

“Given its extensive knowledge of the current Champlain Bridge, its engineering expertise and its existing relationships with stakeholders, I am also confident that JCCBI will exercise sound stewardship of public funds while ensuring the safety of operations during the project.”

JCCBI is a Crown corporation that operates and maintains federal structures in and around Montreal, including the federal section of the Honoré-Mercier Bridge, the Melocheville Tunnel and others. Further deconstruction details will be released in the coming months.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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