December 27, 2018 by David Kennedy
MONTREAL—Construction crews at the Champlain bridge job site marked a project milestone Dec. 19, but it wasn’t the Christmas present many in Montreal has been hoping for.
The event, held two days before the bridge’s original Dec. 21 completion date, celebrated the last pieces of the main bridge being fixed in place. Workers spent the first few weeks of December attaching the final dozen or so segments of the 3.4-kilometre span and filling a 12.5-metre gap over the St. Lawrence River.
Signature on the Saint Lawrence, the build team consisting of SNC-Lavalin Inc., Dragados Canada, Flatiron Constructors Canada and EBC Inc., said work on the final connections has now begun. Paving, waterproofing and other final touches will follow, most likely when the weather turns warmer.
Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, François-Philippe Champagne, toured the vital new piece of infrastructure Wednesday and unveiled the official name for the bridge that will replace the aging Champlain Bridge, which has linked Montreal and the South Shore since the 1960s. The federal government did not stray far from the namesake structure. It christened the new span the Samuel De Champlain Bridge, opting to spell out the full name of the 17th-century French explorer.
While the bridge’s original timeline had it opening before the end of 2018, Montrealers have known for months construction would stretch into the new year. After months of speculation the government confirmed in October the bridge would not be finished on time, adding about six months to the project timeline.
The bridge is now scheduled to open no later June 30, but may begin carrying traffic sooner if work can be completed earlier.
Watch the latest work to complete the main span: