As the Turcot Interchange is demolished to make way for a new one, a giant machine chews up 1,000 to 1,500 tonnes of its concrete and asphalt each day.

The destination of all that crushed debris: the new Turcot Interchange.

"We have a team that dismantles concrete structures, removes the metals and undesirable materials. Then they transport the debris to the crushing site where it becomes an asphalt-concrete mix," said Robin Carbonneau, superintendent of demolition for the KPH-Turcot consortium, which is responsible for Quebec's biggest infrastructure project.

The recycled concrete will be used mostly for the embankments of access roads.

But some of it will go into the interchange asphalt and into the structure itself.

turcot crusher

This giant crusher pulverises concrete and asphalt debris from the Turcot. (CBC)

This is mandatory. KPH-Turcot's contract with the provincial government stipulates that a minimum of 25 per cent of recycled material must be included in the asphalt, 10 per cent in the road foundations and 8 per cent in the structure.

In total, 330,000 cubic metres of concrete will be reused in the new Turcot, enough to fill 132 Olympic-sized pools. This is about a fifth of the 1.5 million cubic metres needed for the embankments.

The old steel rebars will be sent to a private recycling facility.

Quebec's transport ministry says this will reduce the cost and environmental impact of the project.

turcot concrete

About 330,000 cubic metres of old concrete will be used in the new Turcot. (Radio-Canada)

Old concrete safe to use

The Turcot Interchange, built in the 60s, has been the focus of much concern as its age has been showing. Pieces of concrete have fallen off the structure, causing consternation among drivers who go through it every day.

Quebec's transport ministry assures that using this old concrete is safe.

"The material that will go into the new concrete and asphalt will be worked and reworked. It must have some minimum qualities that are the same as new material," said Stéphane Audet, director of the Turcot project at Transport Quebec. "So there's nothing to fear. The material in the new Turcot will be like new."

The new interchange is expected to be completed in 2020 and cost $3.67 billion.

With files from Radio-Canada's Olivier Bachand