I wrote about the Champlain Bridge for Tuesday's paper Gazette.
For one of the stories, I interviewed Hugh Pratley. Now 84, he was the consulting engineer when the bridge was built between 1958 and 1962. He is the son of famed Montreal bridge builder P.L. Pratley, the man (PDF) behind the Jacques Cartier Bridge and Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge.
- reviewed studies about the bridge's safety (I have posted the studies below)
- explained how the bridge's unusual design has complicated repairs and makes long-term renovations almost impossible,
- and considered what happens next.
The Champlain was well received when it opened.
This 1962 Gazette editorial suggested "engineers (had) done their job extremely well" on the Champlain. This one suggested the opening was "an occasion for satisfaction, even for joy, for the Montreal area." The Champlain was expected to spur growth on the South Shore.
The photo at the top of this post was taken The Gazette's Bryanna Bradley.
Below are a couple by retired Gazette photographer Golden Beck.
Here's an excellent 1988 report on the bridge's history - including lots of archival footage and details about a controversy over its location - by Peter Anthony Holder:
The next couple of photos, from The Gazette's archives, show construction of the Champlain.
The first one is from Nuns' Island toward the undeveloped South Shore:
The Champlain was a toll bridge when it opened in 1962. This photo is from 1982:
The 25-cent toll was abolished in 1990:
In Vermont, another Champlain Bridge -- this one between Vermont and New York, over Lake Champlain -- was demolished in 2009.
At some point down the road, I guess I'll have to tackle the Jacques Cartier Bridge.