Reserved bus lane on Highway 13 will ease pain for Deux-Montagnes commuters

The two-year closure of the Mount Royal tunnel is necessary to complete the light-rail network, which is slated to be fully up and running by 2023. A reserved bus lane would offer a faster alternate way for users to get downtown.

Residents are bracing for partial closure of the Deux-Montagnes train line starting March 30

Commuters using Exo's Deux-Montagnes line will be in for transit headaches starting March 30. (Radio-Canada)

Once the Mount Royal tunnel closes on March 30, commuters on the Deux-Montagnes Exo line will be forced to take the train, then a bus, then the Metro to get to downtown Montreal.

The closure is necessary to complete the light rail network, which is expected to start running through the tunnel in 2022. The REM is slated to be fully up and running by 2023.

But there is hope for residents who say it would be much faster for them to board a bus and go straight downtown from Deux-Montagnes using a reserved bus lane along Highway 13.

Quebec's deputy transport minister Chantal Rouleau said the province will make way for a reserved bus lane on Highway 13 starting this spring.

"We have some contracts that are signed ... so the work will start this spring and we think the work will be very rapid," she said.

She said she knows the situation facing commuters is not ideal, but said it will all be worth it when the light-rail is completed.

Rouleau has not specified what distance of Highway 13 the reserved lane would cover.

Francis Millaire, with the Two Mountains train user committee, said he wants clearer answers from the minister.

"We need to know what the actual roads will be that it will be taking," said Millaire. "Is it taking us from Two Mountains all the way to downtown? Or is it taking us to somewhere else in the line like Côte-Vertu?"

Rouleau said for now, commuters coming from the Deux-Montagnes area should plan for an extra 35 minutes on their commute.

With files from Lauren McCallum