Montreal

Champlain Bridge, Canada's busiest crossing, cracking and corroding

Cracks, splitting from support cables, corrosion and surface deterioration are just some of the problems plaguing the bridge that connects Montreal to the South Shore.

$127M in repairs in 2015 for 53-year-old Montreal bridge

Workers checking on one of the pillars supporting the Champlain Bridge, which a new inspection report says is in bad shape. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal's Champlain Bridge is in bad shape, says a new inspection report released this week.

Cracks, splitting from support cables, corrosion and surface deterioration are just some of the problems plaguing the steel truss cantilever bridge that connects Montreal to the South Shore. The use of road salt during the winter is considered to be one of the major contributors to the corrosion and deterioration.

Last fall, Dessau-Cima+ engineers assessed the six-lane, six-kilometre-long bridge's support beams for the report just publicly released. They said beams at the centre of the bridge were in a mediocre state at best.

Thirty-six of the 100 edge girders on the bridge will be outfitted with extra support between now and the end of the year.

A spokesperson with The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, the organization that manages the bridge, said that if a cable were to give out, there would be additional support to make sure people could still make it to the other side.

The bridge corporation insists the Champlain Bridge is still safe to drive on. At least $127 million has been allocated for repairs in 2015 alone.

The federally owned bridge is hugely important to cross-Canada transport and travel. It is the busiest bridge in Canada — JCCBI estimates that nearly 60 million vehicles drive over the bridge each year.

A new bridge to take its place is scheduled to open in 2018. The new bridge is projected to cost more than $4 billion.

The current Champlain Bridge was opened in 1962.

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