Montreal

Metro shutdown, Turcot closures add to commuter woes as slippery season begins

New Turcot closures, a partial shutdown of the Metro's Orange line and the season's first snowfall made for a difficult Monday morning commute in Montreal.

Highway 720 East is now completely closed between Turcot Interchange and Atwater exit

It's been a difficult start to the week.

New Turcot closures, a partial shutdown of the Metro's Orange line and the season's first snowfall made for a difficult Monday morning commute in Montreal.

Starting today, the Ville-Marie Expressway is completely closed to traffic between the Turcot Interchange and Atwater exit until 2018.

The Orange line was also shut down temporarily between Beaubien and Montmorency stations after a passenger threw a cigarette butt onto the tracks.

And with the snow we're getting today, the morning rush hour has proved difficult.

There were reports some STM buses were struggling to get up some of Montreal's steeper roads and service was disrupted on some lines in Montreal's east end.

Turcot closure details

Drivers heading through the Turcot Yards or coming from the Décarie Expressway must now use the new Highway 136, which runs more or less parallel to the old highway, to get downtown.

However, the new highway only offers two lanes instead of four.

The first cars to travel on Highway 136 did so just before 5 a.m. Monday.

About 5,000 vehicles travel through the interchange toward downtown at rush hour, according to Sylvie Gervais of KPH Turcot, the consortium in charge of building the new Turcot.

The closures will be in effect until 2018. (Transports Québec)

Atwater exit reopened

Soon, crews will start tearing down the three-kilometre stretch of the Ville-Marie that is closed.

Once that's done, they will build two more lanes for Highway 136, bringing it up to four in total. They should open in 2018.

The new lanes will be entirely off limits for 12 to 15 weekends starting in December until spring 2017 in order for workers to dismantle the old lanes.

With the opening of the new highway comes the reopening of the Atwater exit to access the Southwest borough, which closed in the summer.

The new detours come one month after one lane connecting Highway 20 East to the Ville-Marie Expressway was blocked off as part of ongoing work on the Turcot Interchange. 

Officials have advised commuters to use a different route, change their schedule, take public transit, or be prepared to sit in traffic.

The Decarie Expressway was clear earlier Monday morning heading toward the Turcot Interchange, but new closures were expected to lead to delays. (Radio-Canada)

The work on the Turcot Interchange isn't scheduled to be completed until 2020.

Shuttle bus service available

The STM is offering a shuttle bus service running from the Agence métropolitaine de transport's new park-and-ride lot at the junction of Highways 40 and 15 (corner of Sainte-Croix and Dion) to the du Collège Métro station on the Orange line.

The shuttle buses will be in service from Monday to Friday during morning and afternoon rush hour, from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

They will run every 15 minutes in the morning and every 10 minutes in the afternoon. The trip to the Métro station will take approximately 10 minutes.

More details on the service are available on the STM website.

Aside from the difficult commute, the snow also helped beautify the Montreal streets.

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