UPDATED: Amount of new Champlain Bridge tolls, impact on other bridges still up in the air

The amount of the tolls on the new Champlain Bridge, the impact on other bridges, and the estimated construction cost won't be known for awhile.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel told a news conference updating the business plan for the bridge that more studies and consultation have to be done. While tolls are definitely in the works for the new bridge, officials also couldn't say how it would affect traffic on the other spans.

"For the impact on the other bridges, we're still waiting for more information (...) and we will have to discuss with the municipalities in the future," Lebel said.

Lebel said the toll will definitely not be $7 as suggested by media reports, the minister citing instead the current tolls on Highways 25 and 30. Fares for regular vehicular traffic on the 25 ranges from $1.86 to $2.48, while on the 30, tolls will rise to $1 or $1.50 as of Feb.1.

The business study led by PriceWaterhouseCooper recommends a private-public partnership to build and manage the new bridge, claiming it will save more money down the road. An initial estimate put the cost of the structure at around $3.5-billion.

It also recommends a single level bridge with six lanes of traffic plus a corridor for public transit, including a light rail system, and a path for cyclists and pedestrians.

The process begins with the first phase of the call for construction bidders starting this spring with construction expected to begin in 2015, the bridge still expected to open to traffic in 2018 and final completion in 2020.

Denis Coderre reacts

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre said during a news conference Tuesday that the federal government's attitude of holding the community hostage to tolls is not gong to work.

"This bridge is not a new bridge," Coderre said implying that it's a federal responsibility and has been for years.

Installing tolls on the new Champlain should not be at the peril of surrounding communities. 

"It's not just a Montreal or a Quebec issue," he said. "Economically, it is an economic issue."

Coderre would have also wished that the federal government all of the 13 scenearios Transport Canada was examining. He said, to date, they've only seen one.

The mayor plans to discuss the new bridge over the Saint-Lawrence, and the toll booth dilemma, with the Prime Minister in a few weeks. 

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  1. clint posted on 01/15/2014 01:26 PM
    $2.00 to cross the bridge.....$20.00 if you separate.
  2. cujo posted on 01/15/2014 02:20 PM
    If the feds would grow a pair they would see there is no need for tolls and score some points at the same time by simply using quebec's equalization payment which is in the $4 billion a year range. The majority of qubecers do not know the rest of Canada is giving them that amount of money as the quebec politicians never talk about that, so if it does not exist may as well use that money to pay the bridge in 1 year and no need for tolls to pay it. And seeing quebec politicians do not want to talk about the handouts they get every year from the feds, Harper can score some valuable points in quebec by building the new bridge for free or state it is a gift from the other provinces, which in reality would be, only difference would be quebecers would be made aware of it..
  3. Drew posted on 01/16/2014 06:05 PM
    The sad part of this is we will pay tolls thinking it will go for maintenance. It will not and 30 years from now the new bridge will be the same as the old bridge crumbling
  4. Sam posted on 03/04/2014 10:10 AM
    I'm puzzled as to why anyone thinks that the Canadian government should pay for a bridge in Quebec if Quebec is moving quickly to separate. The only way that it would make sense is if Montreal is independent from a separating Quebec. Why would Canadian tax payers pay the multibillion dollar bill unless Montreal was in Canada?
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