The Canadian government is working with a number of partners and stakeholders to replace the Champlain Bridge in Montreal.
With traffic volumes reaching unprecedented levels and road salt and wear-and-tear leading to the erosion of the Champlain Bridge near Montreal, the Canadian government is working with a number of partners and stakeholders to fix the problem.
The Champlain Bridge currently stands as Canada’s busiest bridge, handling some 60 million vehicles – 6.2 million of which are trucks – per year. Built over 50 years ago, the bridge was not designed to handle that level of use.
Plans are underway to build a new bridge traversing the St. Lawrence slightly downstream from the Champlain Bridge. The government said work in that corridor could cost anywhere from $3 billion to $5 billion and public-private partnerships are being considered. The idea of adding tolls to the bridge has also arisen.
The new bridge has brought about some debate. Some were calling for a tunnel instead of a bridge, something the federal government has ruled out due to cost, lack of flexibility and other factors.
The province of Quebec has been a key partner in the initiative, which is expected to provide an immense boon to the area by helping commuters cut travel times, facilitate trade in and out of the city and provide jobs.
“This is a major project for the Canadian economy,” said federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel. “It will create thousands of new jobs and we are managing this project accordingly.”
A project of this scale and importance is always sure to bring about impassioned arguments, and this project is no exception. Many ideas have been floated about, some more feasible and logical than others.
“We won’t be able to say ‘yes’ to everything and sometimes we will have to make difficult decisions,” he said. “That said, we intend to pursue collaboration and exchanges, as we have been doing since the start of the project.”
Plans remain in the early stages, with an environment assessment on tap and construction not expected to be completed until late 2021.
Published on 14 February 2013