Drivers, businesses and residents are bracing for major disruptions in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, where the city of Montreal has closed a section of Decarie Boulevard.
The closure, between St-Jacques Street and de Maisonneuve Boulevard, is expected to last several months.
Road crews are installing a sewage collection system needed for the new MUHC superhospital and nearby neighbourhoods.
The city has created a detour through nearby residential streets.
Montreal police officers were posted at the detour Monday morning to help divert traffic, with limited success, according to some drivers.
"It's really nuts," says Maureen Cardoni, who drove through the detour Monday, and expects it will add at least 10 minutes to her daily commute.
Nearby residents are weary at the thought of future traffic chaos.
"Cars are going up and down, up and down, not knowing where they are going. It kind of tells you that cars are not being guided properly," said Wesley Adams, who lives on Prud-homme Street. "And it's not going to stop, it's only the beginning."
Road work, detour could cost businesses
Some NDG business owners are also concerned about the closure.
The Alborz Car Care on Decarie Boulevard depends on easy access to draw customers needed a car wash, says worker Jason Riaz.
Now, "no one knows where they're going."
"I can't continue like this, it's a real mess."
The closure should come as no surprise to anyone, says the city of Montreal.
Residents and local businesses were briefed about the plan at a community meeting in December, says Alain Trudeau, who is leading the superhospital project at the city.
"We informed everyone of the alternative routes providing ongoing access to their homes and businesses. We put in place all the measures to minimize the impact on business," he says.
"Other business owners [have] thanked the city for taking care of their businesses. I think the city is doing a lot to minimize impact."
The Decarie closure is expected to last until at least 2012.