April 13, 2018 1:01 pm
Updated: April 13, 2018 5:32 pm

New Champlain Bridge now expected to open December 21

WATCH: The federal government and the consortium building the new Champlain Bridge have reached a deal that sets a date for the new span to open. As Global's Billy Shields reports, the new opening date is now Dec. 21.


The federal government and the consortium building the new Champlain Bridge announced Friday they have reached a settlement paving the way for the new span to open in December.

READ MORE: Groups behind Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge say project will be done on time

Officials said the opening date for Montreal’s new bridge over the Saint Lawrence River is now Dec. 21 instead of Dec. 1.

READ MORE: 2,000 defects found on Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge

It will replace the federally owned structure right next to it — a six-kilometre span linking Montreal with its south shore that opened in 1962.

WATCH BELOW: When will the new Champlain Bridge open?

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Considered one of Canada’s busiest bridges with roughly 50 million crossings yearly, it has been deteriorating for years.

READ MORE: New Champlain Bridge celebrates one year of construction

The project for the new bridge has been challenging due to load restrictions on the old bridge that delayed the transportation of oversized, prefabricated pieces destined for the new span.

READ MORE: Workers on overdrive to finish Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge

Signature on the Saint Lawrence, a consortium led by engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin, and Ottawa announced the agreement Friday.

READ MORE: Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge on schedule

It resolves issues such as cost overruns and puts an end to legal action filed by the consortium in Quebec Superior Court in March 2017.

WATCH BELOW: Champlain Bridge slated to open in 2018

As part of the deal, the price tag for the $4.2-billion project will increase by $235 million to cover construction delays and transportation costs of oversized parts.

READ MORE: Lawsuit filed over Champlain Bridge construction delays

“There was a price for inaction too,” said Liberal MP Marc Miller, the parliamentary secretary for infrastructure.

“It was difficult to put a figure on this inaction, but we could have surpassed $300 million if we looked at a delay of eight months until the end of summer 2019.”

The federal government had commissioned a study into how much it would cost to keep the existing 56-year-old bridge open to traffic beyond 2018.

READ MORE: Whistleblowing engineer who exposed Champlain Bridge woes faces sanction

Upon completion of the project, the consortium will maintain and operate the new bridge for 30 years.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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