Montreal’s new Samuel de Champlain Bridge was officially inaugurated today, and will fully open to traffic on Canada Day.
Today’s inauguration comes 57 years to the day the first Champlain Bridge opened on June 28, 1962.
The bridge — one of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects — opened to northbound traffic towards Montreal on Monday, and southbound traffic will begin next Monday.
It was originally scheduled to open last December, but various delays pushed back the opening and added another $235 million to the original $4.2 billion price tag.
A pedestrian and bike path will open later this summer on the new 3.4 kilometre span.
The old Champlain bridge will close permanently later this evening and deconstruction work on the 57-year-old bridge is scheduled to begin next year and will take about three years to complete at an estimated cost of $400 million.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Quebec Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel, as well as the mayors of Montreal and Brossard, were on hand for the opening, which included an Aboriginal blessing and the singing of the national anthem.
Also on hand were some of the more than 2,000 people who worked on the new span, devoting more than eight million work hours in freezing or scalding temperatures.
The new bridge is expected to last 125 years.