Time is not on the side of workers and officials rushing to finish the new Champlain Bridge on time.
While the deadline of Dec. 21 is still about six months away, the recent strike by crane operators could put the delivery date in jeopardy.
Officials heading the consortium, led by SNC-Lavalin, insist they’re still striving to meet the deadline, but admit they do need to reassess.
Crane operators walked off the job June 14, not returning until a tribunal ordered them back to work from their “illegal” one week strike.
WATCH BELOW: When will the new Champlain Bridge open?
Dozens of crane operators are helping to build the $4.2 billion span that stretches 3.4 km across the Saint Laurence River.
READ MORE: Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge on schedule
It is a critical link for daily users to-and-from the South Shore, as well as tourists and commercial trade.
About 160,000 vehicles a day use the bridge and more than $20 billion worth of commercial trade crosses every year, most of it between Canada and the U.S.
Officials for the existing Champlain Bridge, which opened in 1962, say they have set aside $10 million for maintenance and repair costs in order to keep it open until next June — in the event the new structure isn’t finished.
The consortium will face a fine of $100,000/day for the first seven days the bridge is late, and $400,000/day after the first week.
WATCH BELOW: Champlain Bridge slated to open in 2018