What third link between Quebec and Lévis?

What third link between Quebec and Lévis?


The third link between Quebec and Lévis has become one of the electoral issues of this campaign.

Each of the five main parties in the running has come up with their solution to limit traffic congestion in the Capitale-Nationale region and improve public transit . Questioned by Le Journal, mobility experts comment on the projects that are on the table.

The CAQ tunnel

■ A $6.5 billion twin-tube under-river tunnel. 

■ It would link Highway 20 to the Laurentian and Dufferin-Montmorency highways.

■ Four lanes of traffic.

■ Connected to the Quebec tramway.

■ Inaugurated in 2032.

“It's a very bad project”, asserts Marie-Hélène Vandersmissen, Director of the Department of Geography at Université Laval. According to her, “this is not a solution to the congestion problems between the two shores since it will encourage urban sprawl, will cause numerous environmental impacts and will create new congestion problems in the medium term”.


Equally critical, Dominic Villeneuve, assistant professor of transport and mobility at the École Supérieure d'Aménagement du Territoire et de Développement Régional (ÉSAD), asserts that “the CAQ project promotes induced demand by increasing motorway capacity, promotes urban sprawl, does not prioritize public transit enough. It will add to traffic and vehicular congestion and parking challenges in downtown Quebec.”

Pierre Cliche, associate professor at the National School of Public Administration (ÉNAP), is one of the few specialists to defend this megaproject. In an open letter published last spring, he downplayed the phenomenon of urban sprawl. Also, he said that a “better connection” is necessary for the economic development of the greater region in a context of labor shortage. The professor put forward the safety argument, recalling that “when one of the two bridges is blocked by works or by accidents, all the public health and safety services are hindered”.


The PQ light train

■ A 15 km light train using a 7 km under-river tunnel. < /p>

■ Preliminary costs of $4 to 5 billion (including $3.6 billion for the construction of the tunnel).

■ Works of 4 to 8 years.

< p>■ Connected to the future Quebec tramway.

■ Linking the Lebourgneuf, Vanier, Saint-Roch, ExpoCité and Parliament Hill sectors (in Quebec City) to the Desjardins sector (in Lévis).

Dominic Villeneuve states straight away that this project “creates dreams by connecting the two city centers by rapid transit, but also Vanier, Saint-Roch and Lebourgneuf. It therefore has good potential for the modal shift from the car to alternative modes and will be well connected to the tramway”. That said, “who says tunnel also says risk of cost and schedule overruns”, he nuances. 

For Fanny Tremblay-Racicot, assistant professor of municipal and regional administration at ÉNAP, “the public transit investment proposals are commendable, but the [opposition parties] are doing what [they] blame their main adversary, or to promise a project without carrying out preliminary studies”.

Similar opinion from Marie-Hélène Vandersmissen. The expert describes the PQ’s proposal as “a buoyant and interesting project, entirely dedicated to public transport and which would be connected to the tramway. But further studies are needed”. 

The SRB of Québec solidaire

■ An SRB (Service Rapide by bus) between downtown Lévis and western Quebec via the Quebec Bridge. 

■ In some places, there would be a reduction in the lanes for motorists to place on a raised concrete platform. 

■ A $5.3 billion investment plan, over eight years, for ten public transit projects in the Capitale-Nationale region.

Describing this project as “interesting”, Marie -Hélène Vandersmissen points out that this SRB “would make it possible to serve the east-west axis on the south shore in addition to connecting the centers of activity located to the west of the two shores and […] could play a structuring role in terms of development”.

Dominic Villeneuve goes further by arguing that this is “the best proposal” on the table. “It has the advantage of being quicker to set up and of being able to rely on well-advanced previous studies for the original SRB. In addition, it meets known mobility needs.” The very cold reception of the mayor of Lévis, Gilles Lehouillier, can however make the project “more difficult to carry out”, agrees the expert.

According to Fanny Tremblay-Racicot, of ÉNAP, “the only proposal that stands is that of the SRB on the Quebec Bridge, because it was included in the 2012 Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan, whose proposals to reduce congestion have never been implemented”. 

The two bridges of the Conservatives

■ Two bridges with a highway crossing Île d'Orléans.

■ The new bridge in the north of the island would be ready in 2027 (as planned) and the second infrastructure would see the light of day in 2030 . 

■ The cost would be between $3 and $5 billion. 

■ The number of traffic lanes is not specified.

This is a “very bad project with even more negative impacts than the CAQ's third link”, says Marie- Hélène Vandersmissen.

This last point “the destruction of the heritage landscape of Île d'Orléans, the environmental impacts, the impact on land use [agricultural land on the island and the south shore], urban sprawl. [All this] without solving the congestion problem. Quite the contrary”. 

For his part, Dominic Villeneuve maintains that “the Conservatives' project is the least convincing. There are no measures for public transport, it does not connect the west of the two shores and it will contribute the most to urban sprawl. In addition, the project encroaches on the heritage of Île d'Orléans and endangers agricultural land.

The expert issues a caveat. “The only point that can be granted as being better than the CAQ project is that this project is a little more credible to “serve traffic” from the Côte-Nord to the Bas-du-Fleuve. But this need remains to be demonstrated,” he says. PLQ

■ A future (third) line of the Quebec tramway will go to Lévis. 

■ Experts will have to specify the route and the exact methods.

■ The cost has not been disclosed.

■ The idea of ​​an under-river tunnel to pass this north-south link is not excluded. 

■ Further details are expected to be released by October 3.

Dominic Villeneuve, assistant professor in transport and mobility at ÉSAD, describes this project as “extremely vague except for the technology to be favored”. Favorable to the principle of a tram which can encourage part of the population to abandon the car, the specialist notes “that we do not specify here whether the crossing will be by bridges or by a tunnel or from where it will be made . Without a budget, schedule or specific plan, it sure won't be implemented tomorrow.”

That said, “this project has the advantage of not adding capacity to highways and to be exclusively dedicated to public transit,” he insists.

In the eyes of Marie-Hélène Vandersmissen, director of the Department of Geography at Laval University, the liberal suggestion is “interesting, but still very vague, especially for the location of the river crossing”.

Jean Dubé, professor at ÉSAD and co-author of a book on the controversies surrounding transportation in Quebec , judges – in general – that “the only option that seems interesting with the third sub-river link is the public transport option only”

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