Montreal’s new Samuel de Champlain Bridge connecting downtown to the South Shore is scheduled to officially open to northbound traffic on June 24 and southbound traffic on July 1.
The $4.5-billion contract was originally expected to be delivered in December 2018 by Signature sur le Saint-Laurent (SSL), the company chosen to carry out the design, construction, financing, operations, maintenance and rehabilitation of the bridge.
Harsh weather and a crane operator strike in 2018, caused the work to be pushed back according to project director, Richard Munday said.
“That prohibited us from finishing before the winter arrived, which pushed activities into the following season,” he said.
“It was a very wet spring so I think we did really well meeting the end of June.”
For each day the project was late, SSL was forced to pay $100,000 for the first seven days and $400,000 per day after that with a cap of $150 million.
“I have always said that if there are delays, there will be consequences,” Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.
“The discussions are going to continue, because in a project of this size, there will always be demands.”
During a briefing on Monday, government representatives indicated it was not yet possible to give more details about the penalties.
Some analysts believe an opening in June should incur a penalty of $75 million, but they believe the company could give a series of reasons to justify the delay, at least in part.
According to government officials, the two-phase opening is required to allow a safe transition from the current bridge to the new structure.
An opening ceremony for the new bridge, which will span 3.4 kilometres, will be held on June 28.
There will be lanes dedicated to public transit as well as a space for the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), cyclists and pedestrians.
Three lanes will be open to traffic, while a temporary reserved bus lane will transport commuters across the span as REM construction is ongoing.
Officials say the bike path and pedestrian walkway should be completed before the winter.
with files from Brayden Jagger Haines
© 2019 The Canadian Press