Canada’s busiest bridge is getting a $147-million makeover this summer, or perhaps more accurately, a make-under.

The underside of the Champlain Bridge will be the target of 85 per cent of the repairs and includes the removal of the superbeam put in place in November as an emergency measure and replacing it with a steel modular truss.

That work is planned or the weekend of May 17-18.

Glen Carlin, general director of the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridge Corporation, said Thursday afternoon that every measure is being taken to assure people can move with the greatest ease possible between Montreal and the South Shore.


The Mercier Bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction for seven weeks. (Canadian Press)

”It’s a delicate operation, we have to be really careful in the procedure that we’re going to undertake,” Carlin said. One of the southbound lanes has been partially closed since the superbeam was installed.

He said some lane closures should be expected in the spring and fall, but that once the work is completed, all lanes on the Champlain Bridge will be open once again to traffic.

Mercier to get major repairs

Carlin also announced Thursday that the Mercier Bridge will also be undergoing major repairs this summer.

The bridge corporation announced seven consecutive weeks of construction on that bridge, meaning each direction will be reduced to one lane as of late June.

Carlin said they’re trying to make this essential work easier on drivers.

"We've put a lot of planning into our work program this year, and want to make sure that we're not going to have more than one bridge with intensive work that's going to affect traffic at the same time,” he said.

The Jacques Cartier Bridge will also experience night closures while workers prepare to repave the bridge and its approaches.

The work on all three bridges is estimated to cost $364 million.

The new Champlain Bridge is expected to be completed by 2018 at could cost up to $5 billion.