The Jacques Cartier Bridge spans the St. Lawrence River and Seaway facing St. Helen’s Island. The bridge is located between the Victoria Bridge and Louis H. Lafontaine bridge-tunnel some 4.5 miles (7 km) upstream from the latter.
On the South Shore, the bridge has a direct connection with Highways 132, 134 and 116. On the Island of Montreal, the bridge is connected to De Lorimier Avenue, northbound to Sherbrooke Street (Highway 138) and southbound to the Ville Marie Expressway (A720).
Access and exit ramps, located in the middle of the bridge, provide access to St. Helen’s Island.
In 1962, an estimated 18 million vehicles crossed the Jacques Cartier Bridge annually.
Approximately 35.8 million vehicles now cross the Jacques Cartier Bridge every year.
Lane Signalling System (September 28, 1961)
A lane signalling system has been in place since September 28, 1961 to reverse the direction of traffic in the middle lane of the bridge. This creates three lanes in one direction and two lanes in the other according to rush hour traffic needs.
Lighting System (1976)
The bridge is lit by 195 light standards installed in 1976. However, in 2001 and 2002, major work was carried out on the lighting system.
The bridge can be divided into three parts, consisting of 9 sections
Today, the deck of the bridge is 72 feet, 6 inches (22.1 m) wide, including 8 feet 2 inches (2.5 m) for a cantilevered bike path on one side and 4 feet, 11 inches (1.5 m) for cantilevered sidewalks on the other side, and 60 feet (18.3 m) of roadway between the curbs. The deck is supported by riveted trusses resting on concrete piers (south approach) or steel towers (north approach). In the cantilevered section, studs were used to permit articulation of some structures, including the anchoring of trusses to the piers (axis 23 and 26).
The bridge has three curves, two of them on the north side.
The first curve is a 10.5 jog before the section that passes over St. Helen’s Island. In order to keep the piers from being exposed to undue turbulence caused by the currents that run at slightly different angles on either side of the Island, the engineers had two options: keep the deck in a straight line and compensate for the different angles with an asymmetrical structure, or keep the structure symmetrical and curve the deck. The second option was chosen as being the most technically feasible at the time!
The second curve, named the “Craig Curve”, was designed to align the axis of the deck with the axis of the north>south traffic lanes on the Island of Montreal. To change the longitudinal and transverse profile of the road, major repairs were carried out in 2002 during the bridge deck replacement.
The last curve meets De Lorimier Avenue. According to the initial plans, the traffic on the bridge was to travel onto Bordeaux Street. However, a man by the name of Hector Barsalou, the owner of a soap factory on De Lorimier Avenue near De Maisonneuve Blvd, obstinately refused to let his building be expropriated to make way for the entrance to the bridge. As the expropriation laws were different from those today, the engineers had to come up with a way to circumvent this obstacle.