A new phase to the building site of the new Champlain bridge

News 16 July, 2017
  • Photo Ben Pelosse

    Vincent Larin

    Sunday, 16 July, 2017 08:00

    Sunday, 16 July, 2017 08:00

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    The construction of the Champlain bridge is entering a new phase that will be much more visible to motorists while work under water is finished this week.

    On-site employees have just finished laying the last of the 38 soles sea that will host the pillars of the bridge over the river Saint-Laurent.

    The installation of these impressive pieces of reinforced concrete from 604 tonnes had started nearly a year to the day. Thirty workers were required to ask each of these parts and the operation could last two to three days.

    “We are now entering a phase where the work will intensify in the height,” confirms Annie-Claire Fournier, spokesman for the consortium Signing on the Saint-Laurent (SSL) responsible for the work.

    Next step

    The coming months will be, among others, devoted to the installation of the 37 trimmers, these huge W in the steel which will be referred to the structure that will host the apron of the bridge, where speeds of motorists.

    Manufactured in Spain, the trimmers are delivered by transatlantic steamer to the port of Montreal before being transported by barge to the construction site of the new bridge. Only two of these pieces of 400 tons had been installed at the time of writing these lines, and the operation is expected to continue until next summer.

    In parallel, the box beams that will compose the area of steel of the bridge have started to arrive at the construction site last winter. When we have finished the pose, Montrealers will be able to distinguish the silhouette of the future bridge.

    The construction of the tower main will also continue this summer and it is expected to reach its full height next spring. The first stay cables, these wires which are connected to the pylon primary and that support the highest part of the bridge, should begin to be installed next fall.

    December 2018

    Despite delays in the delivery of some of the oversized pieces, Infrastructure Canada said that the objective remains to deliver the bridge on December 1, 2018.

    Since the beginning of the first strike of the engineers, almost all of the permits necessary for the transport of parts out-standards have not been issued by the ministry of Transport, explains an SSL.

    “We are monitoring the situation closely for a possible return in strike of the Association of professional engineers of the government of Quebec,” says Annie-Claire Fournier.

    The demolition of the old structure could begin in January 2019 and will conclude three years later, on the condition that the new bridge is completed on time.

    The pillars emerge

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    The W emerging from the water are trimmers that will support the bridge deck. Their shape should enable the support of the three corridors of traffic that you will have the new Champlain bridge, two cars and a third at the center dedicated to public transit. Each of the 37 trimmers that you will have in the bridge weighs 400 tons and measures 12 meters high and 50 meters wide.

    Jetties, temporary

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    The three jetties that have been put in place for the construction site will be removed once the new Champlain bridge is completed. They are currently being used work platforms and docks, of moorings, the night, for the boats used. The three jetties have need nearly a million tons of stone. Passes have been hewn from the West pier to reduce the impact of construction on the fish.

    Divers in action

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    Holes of 9 to 10 metres in which were placed the footings of the pillars were dug directly into the bottom of the river St. Lawrence through use of a mechanical shovel mounted on a barge. The bucket of the mechanical excavator was equipped with a GPS system that allows the operator to know its position at the bottom of the water even if it does not see it. Divers are inspecting then the holes to ensure that there is no debris that could compromise the strength of the pillars.

    Imposing blocks of concrete

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    The imposing blocks of concrete that are beginning to appear at the edge of the highway 132 will be part of the segment Is of the new bridge. This part will extend 800 metres in Brossard up to the seaway.

    Above the Stage

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    The highest part of the bridge on which the cars will be based on a huge concrete slab of 340 tonnes located at the height of the steel structure and referred to as ” spacer-less “. It is also on top of the spacer below that will be installed in the central pillar of the bridge, which will measure 170 meters in height and will therefore be higher than the olympic stadium. One of the major challenges of this project is to build the central part of the bridge without encroaching on the waterway that ships continue to pass through continuously.

    Controlled environments

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    On the West pier, which is located on The Île-des-Sœurs, white tents of 15 metres of height allows to the engineers of the new Champlain bridge to sink huge pieces of concrete in controlled conditions. They should be removed by the end of the year. The 38 soles that have been laid at the bottom of the river have been sunk in these tents. The 36-other soles which are on the land were poured directly on their site.

    To come on the site

    Photo Ben Pelosse

    During the summer and until the spring of 2018, Montrealers will appear little by little trimmers that will accept the deck of the bridge. This phase will be particularly spectacular because of two cranes to 650 tons are required to lift to the vertical these pieces in the form of W, which are delivered in two parts. Taking into account the equipment that is attached to, each half-trimmer weighs 261 tonnes. It is only once this step is completed that will begin the assembly of the steel structure that will support the bridge deck. It will be made up of more than 9600 pre-cast slabs.

    The new Champlain bridge by the numbers

    • 630 workers on the project currently
    • 4239 billion
    • 42 months of work
    • The 3.4 km long