East Approach Update (July 2016)
South Shore teeming with activity
The youngest member of the trio of work platforms is the east jetty in Brossard, on the South Shore (the west jetty being on L’Île-des-Sœurs). Completed in November 2015, the jetty enables workers and equipment to access and build the portion of the new bridge that spans the Lesser La Prairie Basin from a land based operation.
Some specifics on this work area
Highway 132 cuts the project area in two: on the west side of the highway, the jetty built in the Lesser La Prairie Basin allows for the dry construction of the bridge piers, while to the east lie the work areas inside the access ramps to and from the bridge comprising two (2) piers and the east abutment structure.
Highway 10 side: the abutment
Drivers crossing into Montreal on the current Champlain Bridge will notice, to their right, three rectangles (pier caps) supported by six concrete columns. This is the east abutment structure—i.e. the beginnings of the bridge—taking shape. Eventually, backfill will hide these columns. To the left, there are huge mounds of earth; this is the soil management area for the entire project.
On the jetty side
Eight (8) piers are under construction on the east jetty side. Six (6) of the eight 8 piers are being constructed inside sheet pile cofferdams – large structures rising out of the ground within the jetty and forming square cofferdams of about 11 metres sideways inside of which the pier footings and columns are constructed—have already been in place for two months. Each of these work areas is at a different stage. Most of the cofferdams have been excavated, and their construction will end soon. The cofferdams are temporary structures to hold back water and permit construction to proceed in the dry, allowing crews to do the concreting where the footings and columns will stand.
Two footings on Île de la Couvée
Of the 20 footings required for the South Shore end of the bridge, two had to be placed on Île de la Couvée, an island that lies a scant 50 metres from the east jetty and a stone’s throw from the seaway. Workers used barges to access the island for the pile drilling work. Equipment such as an 80‑ton crane and a shovel also had to be hauled over for the task. Next came the caissons and rebar, along with all the equipment and materials needed to build the two footings. Coordinating the maritime work held its shares of challenges, despite the short distance between the east jetty’s loading dock and Île de la Couvée.
As of late September and for the ensuing months, the team will focus on the construction of a building intended, among other things, for the power supply of the bridge’s architectural and/or road lighting and other utilitarian functions. Seventy metres long by 15 metres high, the structure will sit facing the abutment.
In addition, the precast elements from BPDL in Drummondville will start arriving on-site. From then on, the pillars for the new bridge will start going up, a process that will extend to spring 2017.
Finally, also in spring 2017, the deck will take form, and workers on the east approach will launch into the final sprint for the new bridge’s official opening in December 2018.