Frequently Asked Questions

Champlain Bridge facts

What is the importance of the Champlain Bridge corridor?

The Champlain Bridge is one of the busiest bridges in Canada. It is important for local residents and commuters. The bridge is also part of a major Canada-United States trade corridor that is an essential component of Canada's Continental Gateway.

Traffic and Trade, per year

All vehicles: Approximately 40-60 million

Buses: 200,000

Transit users: 11 million (on an average week day, 66% of users are commuters) 

International trade: $20 billion

Who owns the Champlain Bridge?

The Champlain Bridge, as well as the federal portions of Autoroute 15 and the Bonaventure Expressway, were built by the National Harbours Board, a former federal institution. The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) is responsible for managing, operating and maintaining the Champlain Bridge, as well as the federal portions of the Autoroute 15 and the Bonaventure expressway on behalf of the federal government. JCCBI is also responsible for the Champlain Bridge Ice Control Structure, the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the federally owned portion of the Honoré-Mercier Bridge and the Melocheville Tunnel.

Why is the Champlain Bridge being replaced?

Built in 1962, the Champlain Bridge was not designed to handle today’s high volume of traffic. The use of de-icing salt has also contributed to corrosion and the degradation of concrete. The challenge with the existing Champlain Bridge is its original design. Its deck is a structural component of the bridge and is a key element holding it up.

While current investments will keep the Champlain Bridge safe until it is replaced in 2018, a new crossing is required for the long term.

Several studies and reports were used to make the decision to build a new bridge.

In particular, the Pre-feasibility Study Concerning the Replacement of the Existing Champlain Bridge provided advice and information on whether replacing the bridge was the best option. The study examined bridge and tunnel options, and evaluated transportation needs, traffic demands, environmental aspects, implementation modes and financial considerations.

Scope of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence corridor project (Back to top)

What is the scope of the project?

The main components of the project include the new bridge for the St. Lawrence, including the Autoroute 10 approach and the installation of tolling infrastructure and intelligent transportation systems; a new île des Soeurs Bridge, in addition to the highway on île des Soeurs; reconstruction and widening of the federal portion of Autoroute 15; and operation and maintenance of some existing infrastructure.

More information on project scope

What is not included in the scope of the project?

The private partner will not be responsible for work such as deconstruction of the existing Champlain Bridge, the temporary île des Soeurs causeway-bridge, the Estacade (Ice Control Structure) and major maintenance of some existing infrastructure.

Will public transit be integrated into the corridor project?

Public transit is important to the residents of Montreal and the South Shore who cross the bridge every day. The corridor project will include a dedicated public transit corridor. As public transit falls under provincial jurisdiction, the Government of Canada is working with Quebec to integrate transit onto the new bridge.

What will happen to the existing bridge?

The demolition of the existing Champlain Bridge will likely proceed once the corridor project has been built. St. Lawrence Seaway operations and environmental restrictions will also need to be taken into account.

Project costs (Back to top)

How much will a corridor project cost and how will you pay for it?

Preliminary estimates for the work to be done to all federal structures in the corridor indicate that costs are between three and five billion dollars. It is normal for preliminary estimates to cover a broad range.

To minimize the use of public funds, a public-private partnership (PPP) procurement model will be pursued. Implementing tolls will also help minimize the cost to taxpayers.

Procurement process (Back to top)

What procurement model will the government use?

The new bridge for the St. Lawrence corridor project will be a public-private partnership (PPP). The business case results confirmed that a PPP provides greater value for money and more time certainty that the traditional procurement method. 

How does a public-private partnership work?

The PPP model is a contractually binding commitment by the private sector to deliver infrastructure at a pre-determined price with meaningful penalties in case of contract defaults. This provides financial certainty to the government and to taxpayers. It also offers guarantees that the infrastructure will be well maintained for a long period of time.

The private partner will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the project for 35 years. It will assume the risks and commit to deliver the project for a fixed price and by a specific date.

How will you choose the private partner?

On March 3, 2014, the Government of Canada launched a two-stage procurement process. 

The first stage is the Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which was posted on www.buyandsell.gc.ca on March 17, 2014. The RFQ is a public process and open to all interested parties. Respondents are evaluated on their qualifications to carry out the project. Three respondents will then be invited to proceed to the Request for Proposals (RFP).

The RFP is the second stage of the procurement process that will result in the selection of a private partner. Proponents will submit binding technical and financial proposals, including a fixed price and schedule. Proposals will be evaluated on technical and financial criteria.  

More information on procurement timelines

How will you ensure integrity of the procurement process?

The Government of Canada will implement an open, fair and competitive and transparent contracting process based on a commercially accepted approach and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) smart procurement principles.

It will be characterized by significant industry engagement, robust governance and the use of independent third parties such as a fairness monitor.

In addition, all proponents will be required to comply with PWGSC’s Integrity Framework. A respondent would be ineligible to do business with Canada following a conviction for offences such as fraud, bribery and bid rigging.

Bridge design (Back to top)

What will the new bridge look like?

The new bridge is expected to include a three-corridor design, including two three-lane corridors for vehicular traffic and a two-lane transit corridor capable of accommodating a planned light rail transit system. The new bridge will also include a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists.

This design is based on studies such as the Pre-feasibility Study Concerning the Replacement of the Existing Champlain Bridge and the business case

However, it is still too early to say exactly what the final bridge design will be and what it will look like. The final design will be determined through the PPP procurement process.

Will the new bridge have architectural quality?

An architectural review panel has been formed and is collaborating with the renowned architect Poul Ove Jensen and local firm Provencher Roy et associés on the development of architectural directives. These are criteria with respect to architecture that Request for Proposal respondents will have to respect for their proposals to be deemed technically compliant.

Where will the new bridge be located?

The new bridge will immediately downstream from the existing Champlain Bridge (on the north side of the Champlain Bridge).

Environment (Back to top)

How will you make sure that the environment is protected?

The environmental assessment consists of a planning process to assess the project’s impact on the environment and to propose measures to mitigate those effects. Throughout the analysis, the bridge conception and construction techniques will be examined to allow decision making that respects the environment and the community.

More information about the Federal Environmental Assessment.

Progress to date (Back to top)

What has the Government of Canada done since it announced that it would build a new bridge for the St. Lawrence?

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

  • The federal environmental assessment was launched on January 22, 2012.
  • The Government of Canada then developed the draft environmental assessment guidelines and the scope of the environmental assessment. From March 15 to April 4, 2012, the public was invited to comment. Suggestions were integrated into the final guidelines.
  • Following a competitive process, the Dessau|Cima+ consortium was selected in April 2012 to conduct the environmental assessment and to deliver the related reports.
  • On November 16, 2012, the preliminary version of the first environmental assessment report regarding the project and environmental description was published. 
  • An initial series of open houses on the environmental assessment were held from December 2nd to 10th, 2012.
  • On April 2, 2013, the final version of the first part of the environmental assessment was published in addition to the preliminary version of Part II of the environmental assessment regarding assessment of effects and proposed mitigation measures. 
  • A second series of open houses took place from April 14th to 22nd, 2013.
  • The final version of Part II of the environmental assessment, in addition to the Screening report that concludes the environmental assessment, were published on October 2, 2013.
  • More information about the Federal Environmental Assessment.

BUSINESS CASE

  • The Government of Canada has prepared a business case to find the best delivery method for the construction and financing of the bridge.
  • Following a competitive process, the Government of Canada announced in July 2012 that PricewaterhouseCoopers would prepare the business case and provide financial, technical and engineering expertise.
  • The business case was completed in December 2013.
  • More information about the business case

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE

  • A governance structure was established to ensure formal collaboration and effective information exchange among relevant stakeholders.
  • The Ministère des Transports du Québec, Agence métropolitaine du transport and the cities of Montreal, Longueuil and Brossard, amongst others, are actively contributing to the project.

ÎLE DES SOEURS BRIDGE

  • Minister Lebel announced the construction of a temporary causeway between île des Soeurs and Montreal. This will ensure efficient movement of traffic and goods before and during the construction of the new bridge.
  • This causeway will have three lanes in each direction and will be in place until the île des Soeurs Bridge is permanently replaced as part of the construction of the new bridge project.
  • Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated is overseeing this project while ensuring the continued operation and safety of the Champlain Bridge corridor.
  • More information about île des Soeurs bridge

LAUNCH OF PROCUREMENT PROCESS

  • On March 17, 2014, the Government of Canada posted the Request for Qualifications for the corridor project’s public-private partnership on www.buyandsell.gc.ca.
  • Construction is set to begin in the summer of 2015. The new bridge for the St. Lawrence will be in service in 2018 and the rest of the corridor will be completed in 2020.
  • More information about project timelines.