The major reconstruction, now in its second year, of the Mercier Bridge over the St. Lawrence River, the principal route for residents of northern Franklin County to get to Montreal, is continuing in earnest this summer. This project, the largest bridge rehabilitation project ever undertaken in Canada, will extend the life of the bridge, which opened in 1934, for another 75 years. The bridge's entire deck is being replaced panel by panel, mainly at night.
In July 2009, the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board first informed the public about this project in a "Did You Know" article. Although this project is not about state Vehicle and Traffic Law or traffic safety, we hope this update is useful to those traveling to Montreal.
By the time you read this article, the Chateauguay off ramp from the Mercier Bridge (Ramp 3) will be completely closed to traffic for a period of about four months. Chateauguay bound traffic will be directed to the La Prairie off ramp (Ramp 2) and then to a temporary two lanes wide detour road. Traffic will then pass under the bridge to allow access to Route 138 toward Chateauguay.
This temporary detour will facilitate the work of the contractor, the Mohawk Bridge Consortium, to replace the deck of the off ramp with prefabricated concrete deck panels.
With the exception of afternoon rush hour, this detour should add only about five minutes to your return trip from Montreal or the Trudeau (Dorval) Airport.
Trucks will not be able to use the temporary detour road with its U-turn and they will be directed toward Highway 30 for their destination to Chateauguay during the road work.
The good news is that the bridge will not be closed at any time during the entire project. Most of the work will take place at night. Throughout the period of reconstruction the four lanes on the main part of the bridge will be open to traffic during rush hours. During night work one lane each direction will remain open to traffic. The bridge will be fully open to traffic during the winter.
In addition to replacing the entire bridge's decking, a new, multipurpose 2.1-km pedestrian/bike path will replace the current sidewalk. It will be located on the west side of the bridge, spanning the north end (borough of LaSalle) to the south end of the bridge (Kahnawake). Once completed, this multi-use path will be similar to the one installed on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.
Named in memory of the Honorable Honore Mercier, former Premier of Quebec, the bridge was opened on June 22, 1934, the fourth bridge to connect the island of Montreal to the South Shore, after the Lachine Bridge (1885), the Victoria Bridge (in 1860) and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge (1930). Today, some 79,000 vehicles use the bridge daily. For more information on this project, including updates on lane closures and an explanatory video, go to http://pontmercierbridge.ca/eng.