Final plan for Turcot Interchange unveiled

The new Turcot Interchange will have more public transit, cyclists, pedestrians and green space, according to Transport Quebec's final vision presented Friday.

More green space promised

Transport Quebec promised more green space in the new Turcot Interchange plan. (CBC)

Transport Quebec unveiled its final plan for Montreal's busiest highway structure on Friday.

The new Turcot Interchange will have more public transit, cyclists, pedestrians and green space.

A corridor along Notre Dame and St. Ambroise streets will be reserved for a potential tram line and there will be several reserved bus lanes, on highway 20, Notre Dame Street West and St. Patrick street.

When the initial plan to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure was proposed in 2007, at a cost of $1.5-billion, it was criticized for not containing any firm commitment to additional public transit.

Concerns were also raised about the increase in vehicle traffic and the expropriation of roughly 160 housing units.

Transport Quebec spokesperson Alain Dubé said the new Turcot project's most noticeable feature is the disappearance of the elevated expressways.

"The final project actually offers less room for cars and vehicles and is firmly focused on pedestrians, cyclists and also on public transit," said Dubé.

The leader of the opposition said Transport Quebec hasn't changed enough.

Derek Robertson lives near the Turcot Interchange in Montreal. (CBC)

Projet Montréal leader Richard Bergeron said there will be provincial and municipal elections before construction gets underway. If his party wins the election, he said he will force the design project back to the drawing board.

Derek Robertson lives near the Interchange in St-Henri. He is also a cycling and pedestrian advocate. He said the new plan has made some positive improvements for cyclists and pedestrians but doesn't go far enough. 

"It's a substantial improvement but we still have the same basic concept of a wider, larger highway, with more asphalt, more concrete, more noise, more dust, more pollution," said Robertson.

The $3-billion project is expected to be completed in 2018.