Montreal

8 years later, Dorval Interchange finally opens to traffic

The Dorval Interchange near Montreal's Trudeau Airport is a step closer to being done after eight years of construction, delays and rising costs.

Motorists leaving the airport will no longer have to go through the Dorval Circle to access highway

The stretch of road which directly links the airport to Highway 20 East is open to traffic as of this morning. (Radio-Canada)

The Dorval Interchange near Montreal's Trudeau Airport is a step closer to being done after eight years of construction, delays and rising costs.

The stretch of road which directly links the airport to Highway 20 East is open to traffic as of this morning.

A second overpass connecting Highway 20 West to the airport will open by the end of this year.

Martin Girard of Transports Québec said the entire project's price tag is now closer to $344 million — it was initially expected to cost $150 million.

He called it a "complex project," saying workers had to factor in the weather and building ramps over rail yards, while still allowing train traffic to roll by.

The links will ease traffic congestion in the area since drivers will no longer have to loop through the Dorval Circle to access the airport.

Two new overpasses as part of the Dorval Interchange project will give drivers direct access from Highways 20 and 520 to the airport. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Girard expects that 30,000 motorists heading to and from the airport every day will no longer have to weave their way around the circle.

For taxi drivers like Sri Vigneswara, the new interchange is a step in the right direction and will make his life easier.

"I'm really glad to hear this," he said. "It's really a big change for us because there's a lot of traffic most of the time."

'I'll believe it when I see it'

The completion of the two overpasses is a major part of the multi-year project, which has been plagued with setbacks and cost increases since it was announced in 2007.

After announcing the project, Transports Québec had to reach agreements with Canadian National and Canadian Pacific over the rights to build part of the interchange on their land.

In 2016, Transports Québec was ordered to pay close to $6 million in damages to the Best Western Hotel near the airport after a portion of the hotel's parking lot was expropriated for the project.

The Dorval Interchange is expected to ease traffic congestion at the Dorval Circle. (Radio-Canada)

After years of delays, some drivers are skeptical about whether the overpasses will open on time.

"I'll believe it when I see it," said Thomas Savoie.

Transports Québec said the entire Dorval Interchange project should be completed by the end of 2019.

With files from CBC's Sudha Krishnan

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