MONTREAL – The Champlain Ice Control Bridge, a key link between the south shore and the island of Montreal, is being reopened to cyclists and pedestrians.
“I cycle in Greenfield Park and Saint-Lambert, but now with this bridge opening, I’ll come to Montreal more often,” said Greenfield Park resident Norman Simard.
The bridge was closed for almost a full year as it was being re-enforced to handle heavier loads for crews working on the new Champlain Bridge.
With construction moving out to the river, it allowed for one of the few paths to re-open.
“There’s not many ways to get across,” said Vélo-Quebec‘s Louis Carpentier.
“There’s the Jacques-Cartier, the Saint-Lambert locks and now this one.”
Cyclists and pedestrians used to have to deal with car traffic, making the ride across the narrow span a harrowing experience.
“Sometimes it was dangerous, but now lanes are cut off from traffic, so it looks very good,” he said.
The new path has wider, dedicated lanes for bikes and pedestrians, as well as anti-skid pavements and improved lighting.
“It’s really state of the art bike infrastructure,” said Julie Paquet, with Jacques-Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated.
“It’s something we don’t see in an urban setting.”
One thing that hasn’t really changed is the view.
Cyclists still have an excellent sight line onto the Champlain Bridge, but that now includes the new construction site.
“If cyclists want to come here, they get a beautiful view of the river, of Nun’s Island, also of the Champlain Bridge and the new construction site,” said Paquet.
“They get a sneak peak of stuff they can’t see while crossing the bridge. They get to see action from the river.”
The bridge is designed to break up ice headed toward the Champlain Bridge.
Paquet said in the coming winter there will be a pilot project to see if the lanes can be open year-round.