For months, driving eastbound, toward downtown, was the problem, but no more! The traffic headaches are going west — making the afternoon drive especially difficult.

A number of ramps to access the Ville-Marie Expressway westbound or Highway 20 westbound are now closed and will be for more than a year.

The closures are to allow the westbound lanes of the old Turcot Interchange to be dismantled. On the Ville-Marie, vehicles now travel on a new two-lane road next to the eastbound side of the highway, closer to the Saint-Jacques escarpment.

The new lanes aren't as wide as they used to be, and the speed limit has been reduced to 50 km/h in the area.

Motorists will no longer be able to access the Ville-Marie from the Lucien-L'Allier Street or Fort Street ramps.

The Saint-Jacques Street exit from the Ville-Marie is also closed.

And getting on to Highway 20 West from the Monk Boulevard or Notre-Dame Street West entrance is no longer a possibility.

Another change introduced Monday — the Angrignon Boulevard exit from Highway 20 West is now on the right hand side, not the left.

During the afternoon rush hour Monday, police officers were outside, manually synchronizing street lights to ease congestion.

Hard times ahead

But the Turcot Interchange rebuild project giveth as well as taketh away — there are some new ramps opening as well.

Those trying to head west from downtown can get to the Ville-Marie by using a new ramp, accessible from St-Antoine Street near Rose-de-Lima Street. The Panet Street and Hôtel-de-Ville Avenue entrances also remain open.

And there are two new entrance ramps leading to Highway 20 West — at de la Vérendrye Boulevard and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Boulevard. 

Even so, the Transport Ministry is warning drivers that times will be tough.

"Tonight it may be a little more complicated for those who are downtown [trying to] get out," said Sandra Sultana, who is part of the team at the Transport Ministry that is shepherding the new Turcot project. 

It's the same, familiar refrain: plan ahead and double-check the directions your GPS is giving you. 

The city is advising drivers to use the WAZE app, a smartphone GPS navigation software, or simply to use public transport to avoid the traffic surge.. 

What is now closed is supposed to reopen at some point in 2019. The new Turcot is slated to be finished by the end of 2020.

With files from Radio-Canada