expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

8 August 2008

Concordia Bridge and Pont des Îles

Pavilions were not the only noteworthy architecture at Expo 67. Concordia Bridge and Pont des Îles were stunning feats of engineering, playing key roles before and during Montreal's world's fair.

Concordia Bridge

Concordia Bridge was inaugurated on October 21, 1965, at the height of the Expo 67 building boom. Originally called Pont des Peuples and then Pont des Nations, the name Concordia was finally decided upon; "Concordia" being the goddess of harmony in Greek Mythology... a fitting tribute to Expo's overall theme.

Concordia Bridge provided rapid access to Île Sainte-Hélène from Cité du Havre (formerly known as Mackay Pier); where Expo 67's main entrance was located.

One of the world's longest bridges of its kind, and the second to be built in North America, Concordia Bridge offered users a striking view of downtown Montreal and the Expo site. The lack of apparent supporting structure made the orthotropic bridge a masterpiece of industrial design.

Like Expo 67 itself, Concordia Bridge was built in record time: it took just eighteen months to complete work that normally would have taken at 2 to 3 years. And like Expo, its assembly was a great exploit: the bridge was shop-assembled in 5 pieces, then installed from the two banks by means of a travelling crane that ran along a track.

Of German design, the 2265 foot bridge ran in a straight line between Mackay Pier and Île Sainte-Hélène. The bridge was 94 feet wide, with 38 feet reserved for vehicular traffic, 22 feet for pedestrians, and 32 feet set aside for the Expo-Express rapid transit system.

While cars were not permitted on the Expo site, trucks used the Concordia Bridge to replenish food supplies and other necessities after hours.

Pont des Îles

Pont des Îles was opened two years before the start of Expo 67. Connecting Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, the bridge played a crucial role in enabling access to the jobsites that were operating at a furious pace preparing for Expo.

Pont des Îles' conceptors were faced with certain constraints: structures for the bridge were to be no higher than its deck, and only one pier was allowed. Moreover, this pier had to be set in the centre of the structure.

The bridge was supported by 36 steel cables attached to two reinforced-concrete double towers in the middle. This gave Pont des Îles an unusually elegant profile.

Like the Pont de la Concorde (of which it was an extension) Pont des Îles had reserved lanes for the Expo-Express and pedestrian traffic...

images: (1, 2, 4, 5) personal collection (montreal '66)
(3, 6, 7) memorablemontreal.com



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great design but the Pont des iles had a structural failure 90's and need to be rebuilt because it was the principal access to the Casino de Montreal. (note the abscence of steel cables now)

4:55 am  

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