The New Champlain Bridge corridor is one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America and is of crucial importance for the regional economy and for Canada as a whole. It will provide the main gateway to Montreal with a signature bridge on the Saint Lawrence River. The New Champlain Bridge (NBSL) will become a new iconic symbol for the metropolis and will change the urban look of Montreal.
NBSL will replace the existing Champlain Bridge, which is one of North America’s busiest spans, with 50 million cars, buses and trucks crossing it every year. The crossing is part of a vital overland link for freight transportation between Canada and the United States. It is also used by residents of the metropolitan region for their everyday commute.
Increased traffic combined with the damage caused by road salt and other factors have contributed to the structure’s considerable wear and tear. NBSL will have a useful lifespan of 125 years and will open to traffic in December 2018. The rest of the corridor will be completed in 2020.
Ramboll’s involvement in the role of Independent Engineer
Ramboll’s UK and Danish international bridge design engineers have teamed up with the Canadian consultant Stantec to deliver the Independent Engineer role on this project.
The Independent Engineer is part of the monitoring mechanism to ensure the project is delivered in compliance with stipulated performance criteria. The mandate includes:
- Monitoring all work (both on-site and off-site)
- Examining, at various stages, the design documents, supervision plans and the management and quality control system
- Stantec will handle the review of all highway design along with site inspections.
Signature on the Saint Lawrence and the Government of Canada selected The Stantec and Ramboll consortium to fulfil this mandate.
The corridor-wide project
The corridor-wide project includes the construction of the new 3.4km Champlain Bridge (NBSL), a new 470m bridge for L’Île-des-Sœurs, the widening of Highway 15 between the Atwater interchange and the new bridge, and the improvement of the ramps leading from Highways 132 and 10 on the South Shore to the bridge.
Rigorous environmental monitoring and mitigation measures will protect the surrounding natural environment
Architectural quality and features that will enhance Montreal’s cityscape and contribute to the corridor’s status as the main gateway to the city
A corridor reserved for public transit and a safe, accessible multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.
The New Champlain Bridge
Ramboll is proud to be involved with the New Champlain Bridge, which is the crown-jewel of the corridor project. It is a 3.4 km crossing of the main channel of the St. Lawrence River, which includes a cable stay section over the St. Lawrence Seaway, and is a replacement for the existing, decaying Champlain Bridge. It will span the St. Lawrence River from the île des Soeurs to Brossard, immediately downstream from the existing Champlain Bridge.
The new bridge will include a three-corridor design, including two three-lane corridors for vehicular traffic and a two-lane transit corridor capable of accommodating a planned rail transit system.
The main span of the bridge, crossing the Saint Lawrence Seaway, will consist of a 170m high twin tower cable stay bridge with an approximate front span of 240m and a back span of 120m. The superstructure will be constructed as a composite girder. On both sides of the main span, approaches will be constructed with a total length of 3.1km.
Minimising the impact of the engineering challenges on citizens
A challenging 42-month timeline has been established for the construction of the new bridge. Other major roadwork will coincide with the building of the bridge, and hundreds of workers will be required to maintain the traffic flow day after day over the entire worksite of the new Champlain Bridge corridor.
To meet the challenging timeline, the decision was made to maximize the prefabrication of concrete and steel parts and assemble some on-site and some off-site. For this purpose, a total of five jetties (three for the new Champlain Bridge and two for the new Île-des-Sœurs bridge) were created during the preparatory phase of work (June to November 2015). The jetties will also allow for dry construction of various parts of the bridge and will serve as docks for mooring the many vessels that will be used on the Saint Lawrence River during construction.
[Images and video courtesy of Signature on the Saint Lawrence www.newchamplain.ca]