NDG commuters struggling as St. Jacques overpass to close in June
Published Friday, May 16, 2014 8:51AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 16, 2014 10:55AM EDT
NDG residents are about to face a new level of traffic pain with the impending demolition of the St. Jacques St. overpass.
Transport Quebec announced Thursday that the bridge over the Decarie Expressway could be closed in two weeks, as soon as work on nearby Sherbrooke St. is advanced enough to allow two lanes of traffic to re-open.
In a public meeting that lasted for several hours, NDG residents got up time and time again to say that it was obvious Ministry officials had made no thought of co-ordinating any of the massive construction and repair projects that have been taking place over the past several years.
"To a regular citizen or to a planner a lot of this doesn't make any sense. It doesn't seem like they are coordinating very well," said Lisa Bornstein.
Transportation officials acknowledged the scale of the work being undertaken was large, but said they are making efforts to work with city officials.
"We are working for the residents," said Sarah Bensadoun. "That's why we are collaborating with the city and the borough. to make sure those measures will respond and alleviate the traffic for the residents."
Cote des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grace mayor Russell Copeman, who harshly criticized Transport Quebec in March go for a failure to communicate, said there is no way to avoid the work taking place
"We're asking for patience. Some of the work is imposed on us by Transport Quebec and some of it we have to do," said Copeman.
To that end Copeman has convinced Transport Quebec to delay the demolition of the St. Jacques St. overpass until two lanes have re-opened on Sherbrooke St., which could be in two to three weeks.
Reserved bus lanes
In order to speed up bus traffic through the area the STM hopes to soon install reserved bus lanes along Sherbrooke St. and Upper Lachine Rd.
The STM also said it is in talks with the city of Westmount to allow a bus lane through that city as well.
Transport Quebec said an exit from Decarie Expressway south that was built years ago but never used will soon be opened.
That will allow drivers heading south to stay in the trench and exit onto de Maisonneuve Ave., instead of using the Sherbrooke St. exit.
Despite the news people are concerned that drivers will continue to use residential streets to avoid traffic.
"My two big boys go to school by bicycle and I'm frightened everyday," said Sharon Sweeney.
Brief history of construction
Over the past few years residents have had to cope with extended closures of sections of the Turcot Interchange sending drivers through their neighbourhoods.
The St. Jacques St. exit of the Ville Marie Westbound was closed for months at a time repeatedly while it was rebuilt to accommodate the MUHC superhospital.
The superhospital construction also shut down a section of Decarie Blvd. and forced the rerouting of several streets in the area -- and the contract to re-open the road underneath the train tracks was delayed for months