Montreal Is Building Bridges Out of 70,000 Recycled Wine Bottles

One of the two bridges is already well under way, while the other will begin construction next year.
Fabienne Lang
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The city of Montreal in Canada is going to have two bridges made out of recycled glass bottles by 2021. 

In what the city claims as a world first, the project will use around 70,000 glass bottles to create its two bridges on Nuns' Island, replacing two overpasses

This is a fantastic display of thinking outside of the box when it comes to recycling, architecture, and engineering. 


All about the bridges

The city has already been trying to reduce the effects of climate change by integrating glass bottle powder into its pavements since 2011, per MTL Blog. So why not try and do the same for bridges? 

Montreal Is Building Bridges Out of 70,000 Recycled Wine Bottles
The construction of the first bridge is nearly done. Source: Ville de Montréal

Étienne Cantin Bellemare, lead designer and engineer of the project, told MTL Blog that the inspiration for the project arose out of research carried out by the University of Sherbrooke, which focused on  "Novel Ultra-High-Performance Glass Concrete."

The project's idea was  back in 2017, when Bellemare and his colleagues started looking into integrating glass bottle powder in large scales, and the Darwin Bridge on Nuns' Island began as their pilot project. 

Montreal Is Building Bridges Out of 70,000 Recycled Wine Bottles
The end result will look more refined than the construction. Source: Ville de Montréal

So now, 70,000 wine bottles will be given a second life as they are mixed in with around 88,000 pounds (40,000 kg) of cement, which will ultimately become the bridge, per the press release (in French). 

All in all, the two bridges will contain roughly 10% of finely ground recycled glass, which turns out is not only good for the environment but also for the strength of the bridges. 

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"Using glass powder is going to increase the durability of the concrete — durability [against] freezing and thawing and resistance to ice and salt. The concrete is going to be a little more strong also," Bellemare told MTL Blog.

One of the bridges will be ready in the coming weeks, while the second one will begin construction in April 2021, and will take around six months to complete. 

Not only will the bridges be sustainable, but they'll also look good too. The architectural firm, Provencher_Roy, is working on the project to help it look fantastic, with curves adding a unique touch to them.