Arup Celebrates the Opening of The Samuel De Champlain Bridge in Montreal, One of the Largest Bridges in North America
Image by Dissing+Weitling. Courtesy of Arup. Samuel De Champlain Bridge © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.
Montreal, Quebec – Arup is proud to have played a key role in the building of the Samuel De Champlain Bridge, which opened today in Montreal. The bridge was built and will be operated for the next 30 years through a public-private partnership between the Government of Canada and Signature on the Saint Lawrence Group. As the owner’s engineer, Arup helped the Government of Canada achieve its objective of creating a world-class icon with a useful lifespan of 125 years, which is almost double the normal standard in Canada.
Spanning the St. Lawrence Seaway, which links marine traffic from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and connecting to three major highways, Autoroutes 10, 15, and 20, the Samuel De Champlain Bridge is one of the busiest corridors in Canada and is vital to both the local and national economy.
Since 2012, Arup has provided comprehensive technical and procurement advice to the Government of Canada to facilitate the replacement of the aging Champlain Bridge and 8.5 kilometres of the congested Autoroutes 15 and 10 as quickly as possible. At the same time, Arup provided expert advice to ensure the architectural quality, durability and cost of the Samuel De Champlain Bridge were not compromised.
“The opening of the Samuel De Champlain Bridge is a historic and proud moment for the region of Montreal and the entire country. Throughout the project, the Government of Canada has maintained its objectives: the health and safety of workers on site, the quality of the work to be delivered to Canadians and the durability of the work for the next 125 years. I would like to congratulate the women and men who worked tirelessly and with dedication to build the Samuel De Champlain Bridge, which is sure to be a source of pride. They are the heroes of this project,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
The Government of Canada and Signature on the St. Lawrence Group carried through the design vision that Arup, together with Dissing+Weitling Architecture and Provencher Roy & Associates Architects, created in 2013 in collaboration with a Visual Quality Advisory Team comprised of local design experts.
The Samuel De Champlain Bridge, highly visible along the Saint Lawrence River, transforms the Montreal skyline and serves as a global symbol for the metropolis. The bridge boasts three corridors held up by a 160-metre tall tower in a shape of a tuning fork through an elegant harp of cables.
The two outside decks will provide added capacity for motor vehicles with an additional lane in each direction and the central corridor is dedicated to public transit. The bridge also features a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. A viewing platform underneath the bridge provides a distinct perspective of the sculptural piers holding up the decks.
“Sustainable development and focusing on the project outcomes are fundamental to Arup’s comprehensive total quality approach. We listened to all government and community stakeholders to understand their needs and concerns,” said Douglas Balmer, Samuel De Champlain Bridge project director and associate principal at Arup. “Our primary goals were to bring the bridge to life in a way that will meet the needs of the city and be embraced by its residents. We followed the Government of Canada’s mandate to create a national icon that enhances a sense of place and civic pride.”
“In spite of an extreme time pressure the design process was unusually smooth, so it was possible to complete the tender design in about seven months. It was a period of intense teamwork which I enjoyed very much. The design was developed in monthly weeklong workshops in Montreal and at the end of the week the progress was presented to and discussed with the client, Infrastructure Canada, and the Visual Quality Advisory Committee,” said Poul Ove Jensen, architect and director of bridges at DISSING+WEITLING. “I am very happy that Canada decided to make the geometry of our design mandatory in the tender and that the bridge therefore stands exactly as intended. Now I just hope that this is the bridge the people of Montreal will call their own and be proud of.”
“The opening of the Samuel De Champlain Bridge is an important event for the architectural and engineering communities, as it reflects an evolving standard of excellence in the design and construction of engineering structures in Canada. Provencher_Roy is proud to have worked closely with the project’s lead designer, Poul Ove Jensen of Dissing Weitling, to create a bridge with its unique signature, emblematic of the St. Lawrence River. Our urban design team has also participated in the integration and development of the surrounding lands, responding sensitively and in an effective manner to meet the needs of the Montreal region. It has been a privilege for Provencher_Roy to contribute to this project and to work with an exceptional design team, under the leadership of Arup. We hope today that our citizens will be delighted with this new bridge, inspired by the DNA of our metropolis.” said Claude Provencher, senior partner and co-founder at Provencher_Roy.
Arup has been instrumental in delivering the project from the initial idea through procurement to the final design and construction. For the first time, a Canadian public-private partnership included a definition design for a bridge in procurement, so that the original vision could be realized in the finished product while leaving freedom for innovation to the private partner, Signature on the Saint Lawrence Group.
“Our global expertise and deep bench of services allow us to help stakeholders understand each step involved in delivering a major infrastructure project. In this case, we relied on Arup’s substantial infrastructure experience with complex bridge projects such as New York State’s Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Sweden, and Scotland’s Queensferry Crossing,” said Jo Balmer, Samuel De Champlain Bridge project manager and associate at Arup.