Design of future Champlain Bridge in Montreal revealed

Arup, Dissing+Weitling, and Provencher Roy Associés Architectes have revealed the design of the new bridge for the St. Lawrence, as recently announced by the Government of Canada.

As technical advisor and engineers on the project, Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm with a reputation for delivering innovative and sustainable designs, was tasked with delivering a high-quality architectural design for the new bridge. Working closely with the Government of Canada, a team comprised of architects Dissing+Weitling of Denmark and Provencher Roy Associés Architectes of Montreal – with the support of Groupe SM for highway components – has created a unique signature bridge design, sensitive to the needs of Montreal and with the appeal to become a new icon for the St. Lawrence River, the city of Montreal and Canada as a whole.

“We are very pleased with the way the engineering and architectural teams have seamlessly worked together to come up with a design that addresses the needs of the city of Montreal and its citizens,” said Martin Landry, QAA, associate principal and leader of Arup’s Montreal office. “As a Montrealer, I look forward to seeing the bridge realized over the next few years, supporting the needs of the public, and creating a new gateway to the city of Montreal.”

The architectural features of the new three-kilometre-long bridge are poetic in their imagery, while at the same time respecting rigorously defined technical criteria required to achieve a 125-year lifespan. The curved alignment and sculptural piers create an instantly recognizable shore-to-shore design with the elegant main tower and its harp of cables adding a unique accent to the bridge. The design accommodates the long term Quebec public transport plans by retaining the flexibility to run buses or a future light rail train on a central transit corridor. Connectivity between the South Shore and Montreal is further enhanced with a multiple-use path over the bridge and viewing platforms both on and near the bridge that will showcase views of the city and the St. Lawrence River.

“The design of the bridge is to a great extent based on analyses and logic, but at a certain point the analyses no longer give the answer,” explains Poul Ove Jensen, Bridge Director and architect at Dissing+Weitling. “Sometimes you have to trust intuition and make subjective choices. This is when it gets exciting because these choices make the difference between a decent bridge and an outstanding bridge.”

The Arup team has also contributed to a new procurement approach with the Government of Canada as this will be the first time that a Canadian public-private partnership procurement will include a definition design for a bridge which ensures that the architectural vision is realized in the finished product while leaving the freedom for innovation to the shortlisted consortia bidding to design, construct and operate the new bridge.

“The collaboration with Poul Ove Jensen’s team and Arup was rich and unique in terms of creation and research,” said Claude Provencher, architect and associate principal at Provencher_Roy. “With a major goal of developing a world-class bridge for Montreal, the result of this collaboration is a custom-designed bridge to [represent] the image of the country, the St. Lawrence River, the Montreal region, the people who live in it, and the generations to come.”

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