Construction crews are working this weekend, compressing months of work into just two days, as they replace a 900-ton Highway 401 off-ramp near Yorkdale Mall using new rapid bridge replacement technology.

It’s the first attempt of its kind in Toronto, to complete such a large-scale construction project between late Friday night and 5 a.m. Monday morning. Using conventional techniques, the project would normally take between nine and 12 months to complete.

Instead, the 49-year-old bridge at Bridgeland Avenue is being moved and replaced using a cutting-edge approach.

“Rapid bridge replacement helps ensure minimal disruption to drivers while reducing the cost of the project and the cost to the region’s economy,” according to a statement from the Ontario government.

The project, billed as creating 70 new jobs, was awarded to Brennan Paving and Construction Ltd. of Markham. The company will also oversee ongoing construction on the 401 until 2013.

Although it’s new to the city, this is not the first time the technique has been applied in Ontario. So far, four bridges across the province have been replaced using the technology – Island Park, Clyde Avenue and Carling Avenue eastbound on Ottawa’s Highway 417. Aberdeen Avenue on Hamilton’s Highway 403 was also replaced using this method.

Construction appears to be on time with the ramp expected to reopen in time for commuters Monday morning.