April 19, 2018 6:40 pm
Updated: April 19, 2018 6:48 pm

More work to come on new Champlain Bridge

WATCH: The bridge corporation has announced some major work on the existing Champlain Bridge over the summer as the old span enters the last phase of its life. Tim Sargeant reports.

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It’s one of the most important and busiest bridges in Canada — but the Champlain is also falling apart.

In the last three years, $450 million has been spent to keep the structure above the St-Lawrence River open and safe.

More work is planned this year — mostly to reinforce the pier caps — the inverted-like pyramids used to support the upper deck.

The concrete footings in the water also need to be strengthened.

“All we’re doing with Champlain Bridge is trying to manage the risk that different elements represent and we’re very confident that we will have no incidents in bringing the bridge to the end of its service life,” Glen Carlin, the CEO of the Jacques-Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc. said Thursday morning.

The Champlain Bridge opened in 1962 and is considered one of the most important bridges in Canada.

More than 58-million crossings occur annually, an average of more than 160,000 vehicles a day, and officials say more than $20 billion worth of commercial trade crosses the bridge every year.

But the span, a critical link between the island of Montreal to the south shore and the United States, has outlived its life.

The new Champlain Bridge, currently under construction is scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year.

“I feel very excited to see the new bridge, ” Anna Szkwarokwska, who lives next to the bridge, told Global News.

Large amounts of road salt have been partially responsible for the deterioration of the existing bridge, according to Carlin, a point that’s not lost to people who live near the structure.

“With the corrosion, I always thought that this bridge would not last very, very long time,” Robert Miot, another resident who lives near the bridge, told Global News.

The existing bridge is scheduled to be decommissioned by the end of the year and dismantled in another two to three years.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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