‘Beau­ti­ful’ de­sign un­veiled for Mon­treal’s new Cham­plain Bridge

Montreal Gazette - - Montreal - Pierre saint-ar­naud THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The de­sign for a new, mod­ern re­place­ment for Mon­treal’s ag­ing Cham­plain Bridge is be­ing de­scribed by its pro­po­nents as beau­ti­ful and very stylish.

De­nis Lebel, the federal in­fra­struc­ture min­is­ter, showed off the de­sign for the first time at a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

The new bridge, which will cost be­tween $3 bil­lion and $5 bil­lion, will re­place the crum­bling Cham­plain Bridge, which was com­pleted in 1962.

One of sev­eral bridges that fall un­der federal ju­ris­dic­tion, the Cham­plain links Mon­treal with its south shore sub­urbs and is used by more than 50 mil­lion ve­hi­cles ev­ery year. The new bridge’s sig­na­ture is a huge py­lon that will tower 160 me­tres above the St. Lawrence River or 120 me­tres above the road­way.

“At the be­gin­ning, people wanted to have a beau­ti­ful bridge,” Lebel told re­porters. “As for me, I said that it would, first of all, have to be solid.

“It can be very solid, but also very beau­ti­ful,” he added.

Six lanes, with shoul­ders, will be for au­to­mo­bile traf­fic while a cen­tral span will han­dle pub­lic tran­sit.

That span will be sep­a­rated from the three au­to­mo­bile lanes on each side with open spa­ces that look over the river be­low.

There will also be sep­a­rate paths for pedes­tri­ans and cyc- lists on both sides of the new bridge.

The en­tire road­way will grad­u­ally curve, reach­ing a crest just above the St. Lawrence Se­away and then slowly de­scend un­til it reaches the is­land of Mon­treal.

So far, six con­sor­tia have ex­pressed in­ter­est in build­ing the struc­ture and three of them will be cho­sen to sub­mit bids.

They will be al­lowed to choose the ma­te­rial and con­struc­tion meth­ods, but there’s no lat­i­tude when it comes to the de­sign, dura­bil­ity of the work and the dead­line.

“There’s flex­i­bil­ity in the means, but we will be in­flex­i­ble on the re­sult,” Lebel said. “We want a beau­ti­ful bridge that will last 125 years.”

The federal govern­ment es­ti­mates the bridge project will cre­ate 30,000 jobs and should be com­pleted and ready for traf­fic in De­cem­ber 2018.

The bridge de­sign is the work of Dan­ish ar­chi­tect Poul Ove Jensen, who in the past has car­ried out sev­eral sim­i­lar struc­tures in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Mon­treal ar­chi­tec­tural firm Provencher-Roy.

Ar­chi­tect Claude Provencher said Mon­treal­ers will have an el­e­gant bridge “in the im­age of our com­mu­nity, warm, sim­ple and yes, beau­ti­ful.”

The federal min­is­ter told a news con­fer­ence that ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der­way with the own­ers of 16 homes that were lo­cated on the Mon­treal side to widen the cor­ri­dor leading to the bridge.

Mo­torists will soon start to feel the ef­fects of the huge work site when, start­ing this fall, they will be redi­rected to a float­ing bridge that will tem­po­rar­ily re­place the Nuns’ Is­land Bridge, which is be­ing de­mol­ished and re­built.

CANA­DIAN PRESS fIlES

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows a de­sign for the new Cham­plain Bridge, to re­place the cur­rent bridge com­pleted in 1962.

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