Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jacques Cartier Bridge fully open again -- but closed again soon

Jacques Cartier Bridge at dusk
The Jacques Cartier Bridge is a vital link between the island of Montreal and the South Shore. To the chagrin of many bike commuters the bridge is closed during the winter, but at least "The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated" which manages the bridges is much better than the city of Montreal in closing the bridge as late in the season as possible and reopening as early as possible. This year's opening date was March 26 but until now the southern approach to the bike path was closed. This meant that one had to go up or down a steep, long set of stairs to get on and off the bridge, making the bridge practically unusable for a number of cyclists.

Bike path on the bridge

The reason for the closure was an unstable embankment. If you've used the bridge you've probably noticed that the side of the path kept sinking, and after they've tried some minor fixes this season a more durable solution was implemented. The first round of this work has now been completed but there will be more work -- and another closure of that section for five weeks in July. During that period some other work will also be carried out, resulting in a complete closure of the path for two weeks. While the closure is annoying, I'm looking forward to the improvements, and a detour via the sidewalk on the other side of the bridge exists. Since walking your bike across the entire span of the bridge and/or using the steps will be rather tedious (and yes, you should not harass pedestrians and actually walk your bike), it might be a better option to take a detour.

During the partial closure you can exit the Cartier Bridge onto Ile-Sainte-Helene, cross the little bridge towards the Formula 1 race track and then follow the bike path to the Saint-Lambert locks across the St. Lawrence Seaway. During the complete closure (and if you come from points further south/west) you can detour via Pont-de-la-Concorde to Ile-Notre-Dame and then take the same way as above to the locks.

© OpenStreetMap contributors. Data available under the Open Database License, cartography licensed as CC-BY-SA.