Hendrik Saaltink, general manager of the Seaway International Bridge Corporation stands on the new low-level structure that opens Friday, while the old bridge stands in the background.
CORNWALL, Ontario - The new low-level bridge in Cornwall will open Friday, the Federal Bridge Corporation (FBC) said.
"The construction of the new low-level North Channel Bridge, The Seaway International Bridge Corporation (SIBC) Toll Plaza and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Plaza in Cornwall are now completed and will be open to bridge users on Friday...at 7 a.m.," the FBC said in a release.
Plans are for a smooth transition on opening day, with a simultaneous closure of the high-level structure.
"The Seaway International Bridge is a key economic link between Canada and the United States; the new North Channel Bridge will improve our community and contribute to the future economic growth of our region," said Deborah Tropea, vice-chair of the bridge corporation.
Andre Girard, spokesperson for the Federal Bridge Corporation, said despite the focus placed on the new bridge, there is no "official" launch planned this week.
"If there is anything it will be next summer," he said. "It is very much an operational launch."
The toll to cross the bridge will remain $3.25.
Security measures will be implemented in order to prevent any possible access to the high-level bridge until demolition begins, the bridge corporation said.
"The new bridge incorporates advanced technology in its design and construction," said bridge corporation president Micheline Dubé. "It is a tremendous project for the (bridge corporation) team to provide Cornwall, Akwesasne and surrounding communities."
The bridge corporation said it has been fortunate to work collaboratively with various partners, such SIBC, CBSA and Transport Canada to realize this project. It also strongly benefited from the direct involvement of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the City of Cornwall and highly skilled contractors and workers.
The high-level bridge will be dismantled and as such Brookdale Avenue within the City of Cornwall will be realigned. As originally announced, the project completion is planned late 2016.
In 2010, the federal government announced the construction of the new North Channel Bridge through a $74.8M project planned in four phases. The historic high-level bridge, a 1962 structure, has reached the end of its useful life. With the first two phases now completed, the new crossing, toll plaza and temporary interim CBSA plaza are now ready for use.