Highway 15 overpass, completed last year, now being demolished

The overpass was built at a cost $10.8 million, but is being torn down because it doesn’t “fit in” with plans for the new Champlain Bridge.

Structure made for a 2-lane highway, but Hwy. 15 will be expanded to 3 lanes

The consortium building the new Champlain Bridge is tearing down a Highway 15 overpass that was replaced last year because it didn't 'fit in' with plans for the new roadway. (Radio-Canada)

An overpass on Highway 15 in Verdun, replaced just a year ago, is being torn down because it doesn't "fit in" with plans for the new Champlain Bridge.

The original overpass was demolished by the federal bridge authority, the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI), and replaced in two phases in 2014 and 2015 at a cost of $10.8 million.

But in a statement posted to its website in August, Signature St. Lawrence (SSL), the consortium building the new Champlain, said the new structure would be torn down because it "no longer met the project's technical requirements and did not fit in with the new highway leading to the new Champlain Bridge."

Ottawa defends move

Michael Wronski, a spokesman for Infrastructure Canada, said Wednesday that demolishing the original overpass on Highway 15 in Verdun "was necessary in order to ensure the continued safety of the existing Champlain Bridge corridor as the overpass had reached the end of its service life and could not be further repaired." 

"When the overpass was rebuilt, Infrastructure Canada was aware of the possibility that it may need to be replaced in the near future dependent on the final design of the new Champlain Bridge corridor, which had not been finalized at that time. However, it was determined that the work needed to go ahead to address immediate safety concerns," Wronski said in a statement.

The new Champlain Bridge, illustrated in this mock-up, is set to be completed in 2018. (Canadian Press/Handout)

In an interview with Radio-Canada, Daniel Genest, director of coordination at SSL, said this won't happen again.

"We wanted to optimize the alignment of Highway 15 with the new Nuns' Island Bridge and the new Champlain Bridge. So out of necessity, recently built structures had to be demolished," he said.

SSL also tore down two other overpasses that were recently replaced, on Gaétan Laberge Boulevard over Highway 15 near Nuns' Island, this summer. JCCBI spent $5.6 million on those overpasses.

They were demolished because the City of Montreal wants to create "more people-oriented and environmentally integrated spaces" in the area, according to SSL's statement.

with files from Neil Herland and Radio-Canada


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