For thousands of commuters, accessing Highway 20 west became more difficult overnight.
The ramp connecting Highway 15 north to the 20 west closed Monday night and will remain closed for the next two months as part of the reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange.
While some drivers were aware of this new detour many more were caught unaware Tuesday morning.
Traffic on Highway 15 north was at a virtual standstill much of the morning while drivers suddenly realized the exit they normally take to Highway 20 west was closed.
“This week, we are starting the prep work, so we are going to remove the asphalt, protect the structures, the pillars, and then next Monday, we will start dismantling this ramp,” said Sarah Bensadoun, Transport Quebec spokesperson.
Once drivers are on Highway 15, if they do not take the exit for de la Verendrye, they are stuck. The next possible opportunity to turn around and try to make their way to Highway 20 west is at Cote St-Luc Rd. – but it’s an area already jammed with traffic.
“This is a busy area – lots of residents, a hospital nearby, lots of traffic, especially if we add highway traffic - so, it's really not recommended,” said Bensadoun.
The other option is to continue up Decarie to Decarie Circle and then head west along the Trans-Canada, then head back down to Highway 20 and Highway 13 – no easy feat.
All this means the de le Verendrye exit becomes the only (relatively) quick way to access Highway 20. Police have been set up at some key intersections there to help drivers out, said Bensadoun.
“Police officers will remain on site for this week until Friday and then we will reevaluate if it's necessary to have them again,” she explained.
Transport Quebec said come November there will be even more work as the Turcot Interchange project enters yet another new phase of construction.
“There is another phase of work that is planned in November. It will impact four interchanges: de la Verendrye, Turcot, Montreal West and Angrignon,” said Bensadoun.
For now, drivers will be forced to put up with more detours.
“I'm resigned,” said one frustrated driver. “Montreal's a mess.”