The consortium in charge of building the new Champlain bridge says the span will be completed on time — despite being six to nine months behind schedule.

Signature sur le Saint-Laurent says it's picking up the pace with more workers on the site working around the clock so that the new bridge will be completed by the end of next year.

New Champlain Bridge 1

The new Champlain Bridge will have two lanes for vehicles and one lane reserved for public transit. (Radio-Canada)

"We went from 650 workers to almost 850 workers over the last three months. So now we can increase the number of shifts on the site," said Daniel Genest, head of the consortium Signature sur le Saint-Laurent.

The $4-billion project is behind schedule due in part to the public engineers' strike last spring, which lasted several weeks.

Also, a sudden change in provincial standards, which prevented transport trucks carrying heavy loads from taking the old Champlain Bridge, further delayed the work.

The consortium  is suing the federal government for nearly $124 million, alleging it wasn't forewarned that the existing bridge couldn't bear the weight required to transport important pieces to the worksite.

new Champlain Bridge 2

The new span will have 600 steel beams and more than 9,600 concrete slabs. (Radio-Canada)

If the new bridge is not completed on time, the bridge corporation says it would cost up to $250 million to keep the old span safe enough to use after that point.

Once the new Champlain Bridge is delivered, demolition of the old one is expected to begin in 2019 and take about four years to complete.

Champlain Bridge

The Champlain Bridge is the busiest span in Canada. The new one will cost $4.23 billion. (Radio-Canada)

The new bridge's expected lifespan is 125 years.