What is the importance of the Champlain Bridge Corridor?
The Champlain Bridge is the busiest bridge 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: 60 million
Trucks: 6.2 million (10.4% of traffic on the bridge)
Transit users: 11 million (on an average week day, 66% of users are commuters)
International trade: $20 billion
Who owns the Champlain Bridge in Montreal?
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), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Federal Bridge Corporation Limited, 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 for the remainder of its life span, 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.
Is a tunnel being considered?
The tunnel option has been ruled out. A tunnel would cost much more to build and operate. It would be less flexible for future changes. Its construction would also be complicated by significant environmental and operational concerns such as the transportation of dangerous goods. These issues were noted in the Pre-feasibility Study Concerning the Replacement of the Existing Champlain Bridge.
What will the new bridge look like?
The Pre-feasibility Study Concerning the Replacement of the Existing Champlain Bridge suggested that the best design for the new bridge for the St. Lawrence would be three lanes in each direction for vehicles and a fourth lane in each direction for public transit. However, it is still too early to say what the final bridge design will be and what it will look like. Detailed design and engineering will be undertaken at a later stage of this project.
How much will a new bridge corridor 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 very preliminary estimates to cover a broad range since many factors require further assessment. The estimates will be refined as we proceed with the planning.
We are considering all options to minimize the use of public funds. This includes options involving the private sector. In this time of fiscal restraint, a public-private partnership (P3) is an option worth considering.
Implementing tolls is one option we are considering to help minimize use of public funds. Discussions with stakeholders are underway, but due diligence work is still required before a decision and funding model are determined.
How will this project fit in with other construction projects in Montreal?
Other construction projects such as the provincial Turcot Interchange will be part of discussions with Quebec, municipalities and stakeholders. Effective coordination of ongoing and future projects will be undertaken to mitigate and minimize impacts on traffic, the environment and the economy.
How will you make sure that there is no collusion in awarding the contracts?
The Government of Canada’s procurement process requires that federal laws and regulations be followed at all times. Requests for proposals and other processes will always be transparent and competitive.
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.
What will happen to the existing bridge?
The demolition of the existing Champlain Bridge will likely proceed once the new bridge corridor has been built. St. Lawrence Seaway operations and environmental restrictions will also need to be taken into account.
Will public transit be integrated into the new bridge corridor?
Public transit is important to the residents of Montreal and the South Shore who cross the bridge every day. The new bridge corridor will include public transit. The type of public transit has yet to be determined. As public transit falls under provincial jurisdiction, the Government of Canada will work with Quebec to integrate transit onto the new bridge.
What will the new bridge be called?
The new bridge has not yet been named. For now, it is being referred to as the "new bridge for the St. Lawrence".
What has the Government of Canada done since it announced that it would build a new bridge for the St. Lawrence?
- The federal environmental assessment was launched on January 22, 2012.
- The Government of Canada has 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.
- An initial series of open houses on the environmental assessment were held from December 2nd to 10th, 2012.
- A second series of open houses will take place from April 14th to 22nd, 2013.
- The environmental assessment is progressing according to established timelines (18-24 months).
- More information about the Federal Environmental Assessment
- The Government of Canada is preparing 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 is progressing according to established timelines and should be completed by December 2013.
- More information about the business case
- Minister Lebel and Transport Canada officials held several meetings with mayors, business leaders, government agencies and other stakeholders to discuss this project.
- 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 are contributing to the project.
- For more information about the governance structure, consult Transport Canada presentations
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
What is the objective of the open houses?
The open houses offer an opportunity for people to meet specialists and share their comments on the subjects discussed as part of the environmental assessment.
Following the publication of the first part of the environmental assessment report, a series of open houses describing the project and the environment was held in December 2012.
Transport Canada invites the public to a second series of open houses, beginning on April 14, 2013, to discuss the subjects covered in the second part of the environmental assessment report, namely the effects of the project on the environment and the proposed mitigation measures. This report i s available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s website (www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca).
We will accept your written comments on topics covered in the second part of the report and during these open houses until May 19, 2013. We will take these comments into consideration during the next steps of the environmental assessment.
Following these open houses, the final environmental assessment report will be written, which will conclude the environmental assessment process.