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Montreal: we secure the Champlain Bridge by replacing a beam

Last weekend, we had to urgently install a 75-tonne super-beam to support the Champlain Bridge in Montreal. It replaces another in which cracks have been detected compromising its strength. Let's take the opportunity to talk about technical challenges and bridges in the world.

Published on :


“The installation of a 75-tonne super-beam on the Champlain Bridge to solidify a cracked beam on the west side, towards the South Shore, is a first for the federal company Ponts Jacques-Cartier and Champlain Incorporée ( JCCBI) and for the Champlain Bridge. "
Source: La Presse
The day's activities will provide a good understanding of the extent of the work being done to extend the life of the busiest bridge in the province of Quebec. In addition, your students will be able to discover other famous bridges in the world. Several of them are also real tourist attractions thanks to architectural feats!


At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:
- Learn about the different types of bridges in the world;
- Know famous bridges and their characteristics;
- Create an account on the Wikimini virtual encyclopedia;
- Write an article for Wikimini;
- Imagine a possible structure for the future Champlain Bridge;
- Share your construction ideas with the appointed engineering firm, or on the Champlain Bridge blog.

Suggested Activities

ACTIVITY 2: The Champlain Bridge in action!

View the presentation slideShare explaining, step by step, the replacement of the beam of the Champlain Bridge. If desired, distribute a hard copy of the presentation to students so that they can record information during the discussion period. Everything could be added to the student's portfolio, section SCOOP!.
Note: It is possible to download a PowerPoint version of the presentation from the “Download” link, located at the top of the presentation on the Slideshare site.

ICT tracks:
- Introduce your students to the Champlain Bridge site in order to observe car traffic broadcast live.
- Observe an image gallery, on Flickr, in order to observe the heavy machinery necessary for these major works.

Question the students to check their understanding of the current situation. If they don't know some of the answers, invite them to do the necessary research.
a) How long has the Champlain Bridge been in existence?
b) How many motorists use it each day? How does this number compare with the population of your city?
c) What is the current situation with the super beam?
d) What are the impacts of closing a bridge to access Montreal, in your opinion?
e) What are the other main access routes to the Island of Montreal?
f) Have you thought of a solution to resolve the situation? Which?
g) How do you think motorists will react?

ACTIVITY 2: Remarkable bridges

Take advantage of this news to check your students' knowledge of bridges. Whether in terms of materials or environmental impacts, bridges of this scale rarely go unnoticed!
Here are some questions:
1. Can you name any bridges?
2. Why do you think bridges exist?
3. Why do you think some bridges are more elaborate than others?
4. Do you think all bridges are equally strong in relation to each other?
5. Etc.
Then invite your students to write a web story for a virtual encyclopedia named Wikimini. Invite them to find a remarkable bridge using this directory of longest bridges in the world.
In teams, your students will write a draft of their report on the next model sheet. Following your comments, they could enter their information sheets in the form of articles on Wikimini, after creating a free account. Wikimini is an online encyclopedia written by children and adolescents.
Here are 3 examples of remarkable bridges:
Donghai Bridge (China)
Manchac Bridge (USA)
Great Belt Bridge (Denmark)

ACTIVITY 3: A Super-Bridge, invent it!

The installation of the super beam on the Champlain Bridge in Montreal is an adaptive and temporary measure while waiting for the arrival of the new bridge in 2018. The engineering firm associated with the new look of the future bridge is made up of talented people who have made themselves known in a multitude of internationally renowned projects. For example, the firm Dissing + Weitling has already made its mark, inspiring a report in La Presse for this purpose.
In turn, invite your students to develop a model, or a drawing, of the model that the new Champlain Bridge should have. Allow time for reflection with them to determine the elements to consider for the construction of a bridge, for example, the following elements nearby: a port, a residential park, etc.
The stages are:
1. First draw a sketch of their Super-Bridge
2. Bring the necessary material to make the model of their Super-Bridge (wood, scraps, rubber bands, Lego blocks, etc.)
3. Photograph their works in order to send them to the architectural firm responsible for the real bridge construction project. Another suggestion, post them on the blog from the Champlain Bridge.

For further

Create an electronic alphabet book on the theme of bridges, in a collective word processing software such as Etherpad or Google Document, while using the Champlain Bridge site as the main source of information.
Follow the work developments on the Champlain Bridge via the twitter account.
Have your students choose one of the bridges mentioned on Wikipedia, to do more research on it and to exhibit scale models of the most famous bridges in the world.

More about the magazine

15 of the world's most famous bridges offer spectacular landscapes.
Consult the 50 bridges that you must visit one day
Bordeaux bridges and footbridges
Bridge Golden gate from San Francisco

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