Demolition of the first span of the Champlain Bridge began Monday morning.

The $400-million deconstruction project is already several months behind schedule because of the pandemic, but it’s now in full swing.

Work to dismantle two areas of the bridge on Nuns’ island began last August. But at 7 a.m Monday morning, crews began to deconstruct the first section piece by piece using special equipment and a barge in the river.

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Champlain Bridge deconstruction set to be finished by January 2024

Sophisticated engineering methods will be used, depending on the section of the bridge, but around 65 per cent of the work will be done from platforms in the water away from residential areas.

Numerous consultations were held by the bridge authority involving several mayors and residents of Nuns’ Island and Brossard to ensure the work would be done safely and efficiently while respecting noise by-laws and protecting wildlife.

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Brossard Mayor Doreen Assaad said she will be watching the demolition process closely.

“Even though we’re going to feel it at the end of the process, we were involved from the beginning with those discussions,” Assaad said.

“I think they (JCCBI) were very good at advising the city of how it was going to be done, what their timelines are, and taking note of our concerns.”

Assaad added Brossard will be able to react quickly if complaints are submitted during the time of the deconstruction.

The complete demolition is expected to take over three years.

The dismantling of the steel structure will begin in January and will last through the winter. This section must be done while there is no river traffic under the bridge.

There’s also a competition on how to reuse the materials from the bridge, sponsored by Jacques Cartier Heritage Society. It is hoping municipalities will want to reuse some of the materials for infrastructure projects.

Mayor Assaad said she hopes to see a commemoration on the Brossard side of the old bridge.

The deconstruction of the first span will be carried out from Monday until Wednesday, July 21, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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