On your marks, get set, cross!

&On your marks, get set, cross!


It's D-Day for the much dreaded start of work in the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel, but the real ordeal for motorists will only be felt in the coming days and weeks, warn experts. 

“It is certain that on Mondays, we cannot have the exact pulse, since people often do not work”, points out Daniel Evans, host at Radio Circulation 730.

As of today, major repairs to the tunnel will reduce access to three of the six lanes, two to Montreal and one to the South Shore, until 'in 2025, at least.

This summer, the Ministère des Transports (MTQ) announced that even greater work was necessary for this axis between the east of Montreal and the South Shore.

“There is 60% degradation more than expected at the vault of the tunnel”, said the Minister of Transport at the time, François Bonnardel, among other things.

Fragile network

Some 130,000 motorists using this link daily will suffer the consequences.

On October 13, the MTQ calculated that 60% of motorists should find a replacement solution to ensure fluidity on the bridge-tunnel, which is not always easy.

“As the network works [already] at full capacity, anything becomes a problem,” recalls Jean-Philippe Meloche, director of the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal. 

< p>He is even more apprehensive of the impact of any accident on the construction site.

We will also have to expect increased pressure on the other crossings as well as a period of adaptation for users, according to the experts consulted.

“It brings a lot more people to the bridge Jacques-Cartier, a lot more people at Victoria, a lot more people at the Champlain Bridge,” worries Patrick Benoit, traffic columnist on the show Salut Bonjour.

Go through hell

Many motorists will also want to experience the hell of the work zone, and others will have no other option to get to their destination.

“I would be surprised if people were really able to to anticipate the impact of the construction site on their mobility, says Professor Meloche. The normal reflex is to go and test it. »

Various mitigation measures have been put in place to encourage the population to avoid ending up for long minutes, bumper to bumper, in traffic.

< p>For example, more than 2,400 free incentive parking spaces will be available on the South Shore, metro crossings on the yellow line will be improved, as will bus lines.

Or, “ there are a good number of people who will say that the best thing for them is to rush into it [traffic]”, warns Jean-Philippe Meloche.

It was expected that the section between Brossard and Montreal of the Metropolitan Express Network could alleviate traffic on the road network, but its commissioning has been postponed to the spring