Turcot work just the start of 'misery' for Montreal

“We will make sure it makes it, but as everyone knows, this is an aging structure, and it needs a lot of monitoring and also it needs a lot of fixing,” said Transport Quebec.

Highway 720 West has been reduced to one lane for emergency repairs

Highway 720 West was reduced to one lane so that workers could repair the underbelly of the structure after engineers found cracks. (CBC)

People who commute to the West Island are in for a tougher drive.

As was reported yesterday, the area of the Turcot near where Highway 720 West connects to the 20 West has been reduced to one lane, and it will stay that way until December.

“What happened is that, as many people know, the Turcot Interchange is under monitoring, constant monitoring, so we keep inspecting it,” said Mario St-Pierre of Transport Quebec.

St-Pierre explained to Daybreak host Mike Finnerty Tuesday morning that the lane reduction is to limit the amount of vibration so that workers under the Turcot can complete their work, which will consist of injecting epoxy and replacing concrete.

It’s only the beginning of the misery we’re going to go through.- Christian Dubois, councillor for Pierrefonds-Roxboro

He said the emergency repairs were flagged by engineers monitoring the Turcot Friday.

The lane in the middle of the Interchange structure will be the one that remains open, and the speed limit has been reduced to 60 kilometres an hour, St-Pierre added.

Whether traffic will ever flow at 60 km/h while the roadwork is being done is another story, however.

The Turcot is notorious for major traffic snarls, and the lane closures are expected to cause some major headaches for drivers.  

Transport Quebec is asking drivers to take the bus, carpool or adjust their schedules.

This morning on Daybreak, Jim Beis and Christian Dubois, both councillors for Pierrefonds-Roxboro, lamented the short notice on the lane closure.

Dubois, also a member of Montreal’s executive committee, said the last minute closure meant that the city couldn’t coordinate better bus service quick enough.

He said there will eventually be a reserved bus lane on St-Patrick Street to help alleviate traffic on the Turcot, but he said this temporary lane reduction is only a sign of things to come.

“The Turcot Interchange has been a major problem for years. It’s only the beginning of the misery we’re going to go through,” Dubois said, referring to the complete Turcot overhaul expected to start in 2015.

St-Pierre of Transport Quebec assured commuters the Turcot would live to see 2015.

“We will make sure it makes it, but as everyone knows, this is an aging structure, and it needs a lot of monitoring and also it needs a lot of fixing,” he said.

He said the new Turcot should open in 2020.

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