Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More about bridges

I can look out the window and see home (roughly close to shore in the centre of the picture) rapidly receding because I'm in the air again with some time to spare and my Iphone for company.

Nothing says 'fun' like typing out a long-ish blog post on your Iphone. I've got to get a bluetooth keyboard.

You can't live in Montreal without thinking about bridges.

Life on a big island sitting in the middle of a big river imposes that on you.

Even if you live 'off  island', you may well live on another nearby island.  On another large island like Île Jésus; or a medium-sized one like Île Perrot or Nuns' Island;  or a small one like Île Bizard; or a tiny one like Dorval Island (for more on Dorval Island, see my post last year) or Île Verte.

Here's an aerial view of Dorval island.
Even if you live on the 'north shore', the 'south shore', or elsewhere in the Montérégie mainland, if you want to fly to some other place far off, or go the opera, or visit the Jazz Festival or the Comedy Festival, or give birth in a large university hospital, you've got to pick a bridge to get to Montreal proper.

Heck, even if you want to take a break and forget about bridges and islands for a few hours, you'll need to take a bridge to Île Sainte Hélène to get to La Ronde amusement park.

Even though I live and work on the island of Montreal, and spend almost all my time here, my scooter commuting route still requires me to cross the Lachine Canal twice using a bridge in Lachine, and further downtown, the Charlevoix bridge.

My goal this season is to cross more bridges.

Last season the first time I left the island on my Vespa was via the Jacques Bizard bridge to get to... wait for it... Île Bizard.

The first major bridge I crossed was the Galipeault bridge to Île Perrot. Yup, you guessed right, I was 'off island' but still not on the mainland.  If you look at the centre of the picture you can see the Galipeault bridge linking the two islands.
To get to the genuine mainland I later took a really serious bridge, the Jacques Cartier, which took me soaring high over Île Sainte Hélene to land in Longueuil on the south shore.  You can read that post here.

Each bridge is a unique adventure.

The longer and higher the span... the longer the bridge approach... the faster and heavier the traffic, the greater is the challenge.  The challenge makes the experience more memorable, especially when you cross on a Vespa.

This season I added the massive Île aux Tourtes bridge to my list of conquered bridges.  The post on that ride is here.  The only way to appreciate the size of that six-lane bridge is to see it from the air.
My goal this summer is to add more bridges, and maybe a tunnel.

I want to cross both spans of the Lachapelle bridge to Laval for sentimental reasons (I used to cross that bridge daily growing up in Laval).

I want to cross the Victoria bridge for a bunch of reasons. It's Montreal's first and oldest bridge. It's a technical challenge since it has a metal grid deck,  it's a long and narrow sucker, and in it's day, it was a world-class engineering marvel.

Bridges are so special, I'm thinking of setting up a separate page with links to each of the bridge and tunnel posts so that readers can get to all that content from one place.

I may also go back and edit the posts to add more pictures, like these aerial shots I took on my outbound and inbound flights yesterday and today.

That's it for now. My thumbs are killing me. There must be something worth watching on the tube.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.