Tunnel Louis-H.-La Fontaine: “It's going to be tough”, warns Minister Guilbault

Tunnel Louis-H.-La Fontaine: «Çit's going to be tough ;”, warns Minister Guilbault

MISE À DAY

The approximately 120,000 regular users of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel can expect an “extremely tough” situation with the closure, starting next Monday, of three lanes out of six until 2025 , warns the new Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault.  

Since her arrival at the helm of the Ministry of Transport last Thursday, the agenda of the Deputy Prime Minister has been monopolized in large part by the upcoming megaconstruction site in the tunnel connecting the island of Montreal to the South Shore. 

“I have been Minister of Transport and [of] sustainable mobility for four or five days? I would say that I spent at least 50% of my time, almost day and night on this file, the closing of the tunnel, ”said Minister Guilbault, in an interview on the program Là-haut sur la colline. , on QUB radio. 

For the minister, the key word is “plan B”. According to her, it is above all up to tunnel users and their employers to think about an alternative solution before the start of work next Monday. 

“We will not get out of this, the situation it is going to be extremely full-bodied and there is no miracle that we can do unfortunately, ”repeated Ms. Guilbault on Tuesday. 

Telecommuting 

With only one lane open towards the South Shore and two towards Montreal – therefore three lanes out of six, for three years – traffic congestion therefore seems inevitable. 

“There is no other way [to do one's part] than by reducing the number of cars that will pass through the tunnel”, considers the minister. 

If a set of incentive measures are proposed by the government and its partners, such as shuttles leaving from five incentive parking lots in Sainte-Julie, Boucherville and Belœil, in particular, in addition to public transport, teleworking remains a preferred solution, suggests Ms. Guilbault. 

“It's not necessarily up to the government to dictate to entrepreneurs, to employers how to manage their businesses… That's not the idea, but I'm putting myself in the place of a business manager: if anyway, your employees are stuck in traffic all week long, it's not better either”, she observed. 

An express lane will also be put in place to encourage three-person or more carpooling and facilitate the circulation of buses and taxis. Free transit passes are also offered until November 27 at the Radisson metro station.

Communication Challenge

“Everyone must change their lifestyle, their transportation habits, their movements and ideally, give up the car, especially the solo car, to take public transit.” 

All in all, Ms. Guilbault recognizes that this mega-site represents “a whole communication challenge” for the government. A lookout will be set up on Monday to monitor the situation. 

Contrary to what the head of transport and mobility of the City of Montreal, Sophie Mauzerolle, criticizes the government, Ms. Guilbault assures that the Plante administration had been warned for a long time of the work to come. 

“The works in the tunnel have been talked about since 2017. Just to give you an idea, it’s been 5 years. […] We already knew that [the beginning of the work] would be at the end of October, beginning of November”, defended Ms. Guilbault. 

QS proposes a law 

For Québec solidaire, communication with the population must be improved on the Louis-H.-Lafontaine bridge-tunnel file. “It is certain that in terms of communications, it will not win any prizes at the end of the year”, launches the united deputy Alexandre Leduc. 

Without wanting to lend intentions, the MNA for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve pointed out that the recent elections may have delayed the work of elected CAQ members to inform the population. “I expect a higher level of play from Ms. Guilbault and Mr. Fitzgibbon for the metropolis,” he said. 

The government will have to be “reactive” and adapt as the situation evolves, he underlines. 

In addition to improving public transit, QS proposes to pass legislation that will make working from home a right for the employee, rather than a privilege granted by the employer. 

Where possible, employees could thus choose to work from home up to 50% of the time. The CNESSST would be responsible for deciding in the event of a dispute. 

“It's part of the concrete solutions [to relieve congestion on the roads], but for the moment there is absolutely nothing that allows a employee to demand to do a little telecommuting,” said Mr. Leduc. -With the collaboration of Patrick Bellerose

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