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Champlain Bridge deconstruction set to be finished by January 2024

The original Champlain bridge is coming down. The historic water crossing that connects Nuns-Island to the South Shore is scheduled to be dismantled by January 2024. Staff / Global News

Montreal’s original Champlain Bridge is coming down. The historic water crossing that connects Nuns’ Island to the South Shore is scheduled to be dismantled by January 2024.

The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) announced the projected timetable for the deconstruction of the original Champlain Bridge on Tuesday.

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The dismantling process, which started earlier this year, will be done in three different stages.

Contractors Nouvel Horizon Saint-Laurent G.P. (NHSL) have been chosen for the project.

“This ambitious deconstruction project poses enormous technical and environmental challenges. NHSL has begun working on Nuns’ Island, which is a successful first step,” JCCBI’s Chief Executive Officer Sandra Martel said.

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The deconstruction of the shoreline sections will be carried out from jetties set up along the river using standard equipment, such as excavators and cranes.

Much of the dismantling is already underway on the foot of the bridge on Nuns’ Island.

The majority of the work however will be done on the water, with 65 per cent of the total project taking part on the river. This will be done, according to officials using a system of platforms attached to high capacity lifting towers installed on floating barges.

Teams will slowly dismantle each concrete slab and section, “piece by piece.” The concrete will then be crumbled on the barge, and transported away from the job site to be recycled.

“This work will be performed in a controlled environment away from residences, respecting the river environment and the local community,” communication  director, Nathalie Lessard said.

A second crew, specializing in marine construction, will follow in an assembly line-like fashion and remove the cement pillars secured in the river bed.

This process is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 and continue until the end of 2023.

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During the fall and winter of next year, work on dismantling the center steel structure will begin.

According to officials the 2,200-ton suspended span will be removed and lowered onto a barge using strand jacks.

This will be followed by the dismantling of the cantilever sections and anchor spans using a crane set up on the jetties and the seaway dike.

The last phase will include the deconstruction of the bridge piers using high capacity excavators in 2023.

One of the archways will be persevered and kept as a historical piece.

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Officials proclaim the highest level of safety will be observed protecting the environment and the nearby residents reducing the impact of the project.

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“There will be live monitoring every day, we are basically watching, the air, water and sound quality. We are ensuring there is no impact from the project,” NHSL project director, Fabrice Guédon said.

The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated said the total budget for the Champlain project totals $400 million.

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