In the 1950's, the southern suburbs of Montreal were growing and the traffic on the river crossings was a growing concern. In August 1955, the federal minister of Transport announced that a new bridge would be built from Verdun on the Island of Montreal to the south shore by way of Nun's island.
The construction was the responsibility of the National Harbours Board. During the Fall of 1955, the board worked with local and provincial authorities on the precise location of the bridge. Its building would open Nun's Island for development.
Initially planned as a four lane bridge, the project was quickly revised to include six traffic lanes because of the growth potential of the South Shore.
The bridge was built with new techniques involving pre stressed concrete, which, among other reasons, were chosen in the interest of lowering the construction costs. After a few decades and the damage caused by the use of salts on the roads in the winter, which was not done at the time the engineers conceived the span and therefore not taken into account, these techniques would prove to be fatal flaws that prevented the retrofitting and repair of the bridge.
In 2011, the Federal government announced a new bridge to replace the aging Champlain to be opened to traffic before the end of 2018.
When it opened, in 1962, the Champlain Bridge was dubbed "bridge to nowhere" because there were few access roads. In the next five years, Bonaventure expressway and highway 15 would be constructed for Expo 67 and complete the network that led to the bridge. Initially, motorists also thought that the toll was too expensive and would deter from using the bridge. In 2014, Champlain is the busiest span in Canada.