Champlain Bridge: Sneak peek at the sleek new design

The designers of the new Champlain Bridge believe the cable-stayed structure could become Montreal’s next great landmark.

New structure will have dedicated public transit lanes

Infrastructure Canada releases the first glimpse of Montreal's new bridge, slated to open in 2018. 2:59

The designers of the new Champlain Bridge believe the cable-stayed structure could become Montreal’s next great landmark.  

The design of the new bridge was unveiled this morning by federal infrastructure minister Denis Lebel, along with a video which takes drivers on a virtual crossing of the future span.

The federal government announced in October it would build a new bridge to replace the deteriorating Champlain, the busiest bridge in Canada. 

The new bridge will stretch from the South Shore to Montreal in one long span divided into three segments.

Inbound and outbound traffic will have their own independent lanes on the bridge, as will public transit.

There will also be lookout points for pedestrians.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he's pleased with the plans.

"We are pleased to see that efforts have been made to integrate the concept of public transportation, especially with ... the platform that integrates pedestrians and cyclists," Coderre said.

Poul Ove Jensen, the Danish architect behind the bridge design, says the structure will be unique to Montreal.

"I think it has the potential quality of a landmark and I think it is instantly recognizable,” he said.

Six consortiums responded to a call for qualifications issued by the government to build the bridge. The three that receive the highest marks will be invited to submit a proposal in the next few weeks, Lebel said.

At least 16 homes will need to be expropriated for the project, which is expected to cost between $3 billion and $5 billion by the time it opens.

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