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Case studies

November 25, 2019 - 5 min

The Waterproofing of the Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge Was Done by SOPREMA

Published by SOPREMA

One of the Busiest Bridges in North America


Project Group

Owner: Infrastructure Canada
Architects: Arup Canada in collaboration with the Danish firm Dissing+Weitling and the Montréal firm Provencher Roy
Contractor: Signature on the Saint Lawrence (SNC-Lavalin, ACS, and Hochtief)
Design and construction group: SNC-Lavalin, Dragados Canada, Flatiron Constructors Canada, and EBC Inc.
Installer: Groupe Lefebvre
Consultants: Stantec and Ramboll (independent engineer)
SOPREMA representative: Michel Viau


Type of solution: Waterproofing
Quantity of products: 180,000 m2
Works period: 2015 to 2019
City: Montréal
Status: Completed in the fall of 2019

A Large-Scale Project and Real Hallmark for the Greater Montréal Region

After four years of hard work and collective effort, the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge was opened to traffic in the summer of 2019. The 3.4-km structure stands tall and strong in Montréal’s urban landscape, becoming a new symbol for the city. It replaces the former Champlain Bridge, which had been serving as a link between Brossard and Montréal since June 28, 1962. After 53 years of constant crossings—about 50 million vehicles a year—and the seasonal spreading of de-icing salt, this bridge had reached the end of its useful life.

In April 2015, the Government of Canada mandated the Signature on the Saint Lawrence Consortium to build the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge Corridor and maintain the structure for the next 30 years. The total cost for the design, construction and operation of the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge Corridor was 4.25 billion dollars. More than a thousand workers were assigned to the construction site.Groupe Lefebvre was selected to waterproof the concrete slabs on the bridge deck with SOPREMA products. Two different technologies were applied: heat-welded membranes made of SBS‑modified bitumen (ANTIROCK line) and polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA (ALSAN CIVIL line).

A Bridge Designed With a Sustainable Development Vision

The new bridge was designed with a focus on sustainable development, with an estimated useful life of 125 years. Signature on the Saint Lawrence was mandated to integrate rigorous environmental monitoring and mitigation measures in order to limit the impacts on the surrounding environment. To promote sustainable mobility, the bridge also includes a public transit lane and a safe and accessible multipurpose path for pedestrians and cyclists year-round.

The structure is the pinnacle of modernity in terms of engineering and urban integration.

The Challenge of Waterproofing

Waterproofing concrete is paramount for a project such as the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge, because it ensures the protection of the reinforcing steel deck and prevents its premature degradation. The flexible waterproofing membrane covers cracks, preventing water and de-icing salt from penetrating the concrete and creating corrosion on the reinforcing steel.

The contractor had to apply membranes that met the technical requirements of the MTQ (Québec Ministry of Transportation). ANTIROCK, SOPREMA’s bituminous sheet membrane, which can be found on most viaducts in Québec, was chosen. This product has been demonstrating its effectiveness for years: it can be installed mechanically and offers steady performance over time.

However, the snow in November and the intense rains in May and June affected the application of waterproofing products. Groupe Lefebvre, which was the installer, and SOPREMA therefore suggested another technology that was better suited to the site’s weather conditions: ALSAN CIVIL P70 primer and ALSAN CIVIL 773 waterproofing membrane, both PMMA-based products. 

“This liquid membrane, manufactured in Québec, can be sprayed even in cold weatherwhich really improves the speed of execution. In addition to drying very quickly, it can be applied on irregular surfaces, unlike other technologies,” explains Michel Viau, Technical Representative at SOPREMA.

PMMA offers outstanding durability and waterproofing performance. While its cost is higher, it is chosen for its quality and high performance, and because it saves considerable time due to its quick installation. This is a complementary product to SOPREMA’s service offer. It should be noted that SOPREMA PMMA technology has been known worldwide for more than 10 years.

The Contribution of SOPREMA

“SOPREMA has always been very active in the waterproofing sector for civil works with our ANTIROCK sheet membrane. But we expect that PMMA will revolutionize the field of civil engineering, thanks to its incredible installation speed. It’s a fantastic technology which, I think, played a big role in the project timeline. We strongly believe in its potential. It allowed us to start waterproofing in March instead of having to wait until May to install the ANTIROCK. The future is in PMMA, and it could even be substituted for ANTIROCK,” says Émilie Aimé, Product Manager – Civil Engineering, Flooring and parking Decks at SOPREMA.

“I believe we contributed added value to the project by suggesting another technology, namely PMMA. The idea was well received and the results proved that it was indeed a high-performance, high‑quality technology. Moreover, Signature on the Saint Lawrence had only one manufacturer on site and that was greatly appreciated,” says Michel Viau.

SOPREMA is particularly committed to supporting its customers during works and to proposing solutions that are well suited to the conditions of a construction site. SOPREMA has earned a place among waterproofing industry leaders with the expertise and availability of its technical staff. 


Why Choose SOPREMA?

SOPREMA is very active in the Québec market. The company has plants in the region and offers quality technical service throughout North America. Its Research and Development Centre is located in Drummondville. This proximity is its competitive edge, since information is more readily available and decisions can be made quicker.

“I have seen my business grow, partly thanks to SOPREMA. We have maintained a good business relationship for more than 30 years,” says Philippe Lefebvre, Executive Manager at Groupe Lefebvre. I’m glad we were able to collaborate on the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge project. I will definitely do business again with SOPREMA.”

The consortium also was very satisfied with SOPREMA’s work. Technical representatives were available to answer questions quickly, and the technical performance and availability of the products were highly appreciated.