Road work blitz in Montreal area will make for trying 2016
Published Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:06PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 19, 2016 6:58AM EST
It's going to be yet another trying year on Montreal’s roads.
Last year the city spent a record amount on road work and we can expect more of the same for 2016. And if that’s not enough, there's going to be major road work on our highways as well.
City officials are not making public their projections for 2016 yet, but said Thursday this year will be similar to last year, when $445 million was spent on infrastructure.
And while it seemed like some projects were dragging on, especially on commercial streets, the city says 90 per cent of the time, the work finished on schedule.
Executive committee member Lionel Perez says the city has implemented many measures to encourage contractors to finish work on time, including fines for delays and even bonuses for exemplary work.
Perez also said the city has noticed up to 15 companies bidding on single contracts, whereas it used to be just a few. The extra competition has driven the prices down by about 20 per cent over the last couple of years.
Next year the city is planning a bit of a break on the road work projects in time for Montreal's 375th anniversary, but that isn’t exactly the case on the highways.
Starting March 18, work begins on Highway 15 near the Atwater exit to move southbound lanes.
It’s the beginning of a very long process involving the Bonaventure Expressway, and Highway 15 north from the Champlain Bridge through to the Turcot Interchange.
Work to demolish the Ville Marie exit off the 15 north begins in April and will continue through 2017, which means lanes will be reduced from four to two on the Ville Marie at times.
Traffic consultant Rick Leckner is warning of gridlock like we've never seen before.
“We’re dealing with three major projects: Champlain Bridge, Turcot Interchange, and the new Bonaventure Autoroute, as well as regular maintenance we're still catching up on from years ago. When you put all these things together there are so many projects underway, that it is difficult to find viable alternate [routes], and I don't think we'll be able to find viable alternates, he said.
“People need to start [getting into] a mindset of ‘How am I going to deal with this?’ and it's not in your car.”
Transit organizations are planning to put extra buses on the road but the gridlock may be hard for even buses to navigate.
Leckner says transport experts are working to find solutions and detours, but they're hard to come by.