A few months ago, the Signature sur le Saint-Laurent (SSL), the company responsible for building the new Champlain Bridge, announced that the bridge would open to traffic on one side on June 3rd. The other side was supposed to open June 17th according to the original plans.
The federal government, who is overseeing the project, reportedly doubted that those dates were accurate. Now, it appears the federal government was correct. The initial, incorrect June 3rd deadline has come and gone and work still remains to be done. The project website, meanwhile, only promies that the structure will open "not later than" the "end June 2019."
If work is not completed by then, SSL and Infrastructure Canada are set to incur a $100,000 per day penalty. After this first week of delays is over, the companies will be penalized $400,000 per day, according to the Journal de Montréal.
Last year, the bridge was supposed to be ready for a Christmas unveiling but, of course, that date was postponed. The new Champlain Bridge is anticipated to be one of the busiest bridges in all of Canada, servicing an estimated 50 million vehicles per year.
One MTLBlog reader with a view of the bridge construction told us that workers still have yet to paint traffic lanes. Some pedestrian barriers have also yet to be installed, they say. The above photo posted to the project website that shows progress as of June 6 confirms that traffic lanes are still missing.
Though the bridge is mostly done (there was even a strange light test!) it doesn't seem like it will be open to vehicular traffic anytime soon.
Still, though, the opening of the new Champlain Bridge is a highly anticipated event. Drivers coming and going from the South Shore and other areas will get some much-needed reprieve from endless traffic during commuting hours.
The old Champlain Bridge will be torn down piece by piece after the new bridge opens to the public. The project will start next year and will cost $400 million. Current estimates are that it will only take three years to complete.
Dismantling the old bridge presents a whole slew of engineering challenges because the bridge cannot be blown up or dropped into the water since the area is a working commercial waterway.
We aren't sure what these delays mean for drivers or when the bridge will officially be opened. A call to the project phone line confirms that there is now no set opening date.
For more information about the new Champlain Bridge, please visit their official website.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that the extension of construction beyond the opening date of June 3 represented a delay. In fact, project representatives had made an error in reporting that date. The bridge will open by the end of June, but no set date has been announced.