Turcot reconstruction plans changed

Quebec's Transport Ministry will make two significant changes to its controversial plans to rebuild Montreal's Turcot interchange following the recommendations of the province's environmental assessment board, CBC/Radio-Canada has learned.
Transport Quebec has agreed to two major changes recommended by the BAPE.
Quebec’s Transport Ministry will make two significant changes to its controversial plans to rebuild Montreal’s Turcot interchange following the recommendations of the province’s environmental assessment board, CBC/Radio-Canada has learned.

Only 100 residential units will be expropriated — 60 fewer than initially planned.

The new plans will preserve all of the residential buildings on Cazelais Street, which were to have been torn down to make way for the rebuilt interchange.

In another major change, the north-south portion of the interchange, which passes through the Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood, will no longer be built at ground-level. The city of Montreal and the South-West borough had expressed concern that plan would cut the neighbourhood in two.

Instead, the province has agreed to rebuild the structure above-ground — allowing the link between the eastern and western areas of Cote St-Paul to be preserved.

More cars

It seems, however, that the city of Montreal was unable to convince the province to reduce the capacity of the new interchange. The number of vehicles using the interchange on a daily basis is expected to climb from 280,000 to 304,000.

Negotiations for the construction of a reserved public transit lane are still ongoing.

Discussions also continue regarding the final shape of the central portion of the interchange. The city had proposed a circular shape to reduce its overall diameter, but that idea is not being welcomed by the ministry, which prefers a more traditionally-shaped interchange.

On March 25, several community groups and public health officials are expected to present their recommendations to the ministry once again — a final effort to convince the ministry to reduce the impact of the interchange on the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The residential buildings on Cazelais Street will be preserved under the ministry's new plan. ((CBC))

Community groups and residents have staged protests expressing concern about the effects the construction and increased traffic will have on their quality of life. Some of those concerns were echoed by municipal officials during hearings before the province’s environmental assessment board (BAPE).

The BAPE heard from more than 90 groups during hearings on the project last spring.

In its report, released in November, the BAPE ordered the government back to the drawing board, and called on officials to re-work the project in collaboration with the city to avoid as many expropriations as possible.

Transport minister Julie Boulet is expected to sign a decree confirming the finalization of the plans by the end of the month.

The reconstruction of the Turcot interchange is expected to be completed by 2016.