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Montreal opens toll bridge and first P3 project

This past weekend, on May 21, over 5,000 people came out to celebrate the official opening of a new bridge in Montreal. The A25 Bridge between Montreal and Laval is part of the first public private partnership project in Quebec, and also the...


Illustration of new bridge on the A25 highway over Riviere des Prairies in Montreal.
Illustration of new bridge on the A25 highway over Riviere des Prairies in Montreal.

This past weekend, on May 21, over 5,000 people came out to celebrate the official opening of a new bridge in Montreal. The A25 Bridge between Montreal and Laval is part of the first public private partnership project in Quebec, and also the first cable-stayed bridge to be constructed in the province in over 40 years.

Street performers, bounce houses and other events help to cheer the opening event crowd despite rainy weather. 

The Montreal Gazette interviewed one person who came to the opening, a Ziggy Zalezniak, aged 56 who cycled over the bridge from the Montreal side. He said “It’s pretty neat, because in my lifetime, other than the Champlain Bridge, this is the first bridge that has been constructed. It’s a wonderful opportunity to do something that’s a bit historic.”

The bridge is part of a new 7.5-kilometre toll highway linking the Island of Montreal with the northern shore and the suburb of Laval. Highway 25 connects Henri-Bourassa Boulevard in Montreal and Highway 440 in Quebec. 

Concession A25 is the P3 consortium in charge of the $500-million design-build, operate and maintain project. The consortium includes a joint venture of Kiewit and Parsons as design-build contractors, Parsons as prime consultant, and International Bridge Technologies of San Diego, California as the bridge design consultant.

CIMA+/BPR are the engineering consultants for the Ministry of Transport du Quebec. They have been working on the project from its beginning.

Completed in four years, the new 1.2-km. bridge crosses Rivière des Prairies, with a main cable-stayed span of 280 metres. It has precast, prestressed concrete deck panels, and is supported by drilled shafts bearing on rock. Its two pylons are located on each side of a sturgeon spawning pool in the river. The design of the  bridge was complicated by having to deal with the environmentally sensitive fish habitat, as well as restrictions on the tower height, and the proximity of high-voltage power lines.

Besides the bridge over the river, the A25 highway includes 10 grade separation bridges and three interchanges, and it provides a reserved public transit lane and a path for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Ministry of Transportation of Quebec acquired the right of way for Highway 25, and once the financial arrangements were made, construction was started within four months. The A25 concession partnered with environmental agencies to speed up the project. Features include stormwater retention ponds, protection of a large existing wetland in Laval, and a 15-metre protected area beside the highway. To shield neighbourhoods from noise, earth berms were constructed alongside the highway.

The P3 consortium has a 35-year contract to operate and maintain the bridge and collect tolls for the first 20,000 vehicles that cross the bridge daily. After that the tolls are shared 50-50 with the Government of Quebec. It’s expected that more than 20,000 vehicles a day will use the bridge.

The consortium is led by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners based in New York. Miller Paving is involved, and TransCore supplied the electronic toll payment services. Some critics worry that the bridge will simply funnel more traffic into an already congested Notre Dame Street East in downtown Montreal. However, the province has promised to redesign the street

To see videos of the project, click here.