Some residents of Nuns’ Island are hoping part of the plans to build the replacement for the Champlain Bridge can be redrawn to give them better access.

They recently discovered that as of this fall, they will only have one access route on and off the island, creating concerns about emergency vehicles.

Currently, there are two access routes to Nuns’ Island via Highway 15 and the Bonaventure Expressway.

“It's going to be extremely frustrating for the residents of Nuns’ Island,” said Philippe Tremblay, president of the Nuns’ Island Homeowners and Residents Association, APRIDS.

The consortium building the new Champlain Bridge is required to close Rene-Levesque Blvd. (in Nuns’ Island) this fall and keep it closed for more than a year.

Heavy equipment and materials must be moved into place to continue building the bridge and to build a pedestrian tunnel to connect to the future REM electric commuter train.

Loss of the route and the ability to directly access Highway 15 has taken a lot of residents by surprise

“Shock was the principal reaction. We knew it was a possibility but we honestly thought they could work around it and at least access at rush hour,” said Tremblay, who said he and other members of the residents’ association have some serious questions.

“How would ambulances access the island at rush hour or fire trucks?” he posited.

The borough of Verdun (which includes Nuns’ Island) is asking the same questions.

“We do believe that maintaining two access (routes) in and out of the island is the best way to ensure that, in the case of emergency, people on the island will be able to get services,” said borough councillor Pierre l’Heureux.

The consortium's plan is now being studied.

“The borough and the city of Montreal have commissioned another study to make sure there's no better solution,” explained Tremblay.

One option being considered is appealing to the consortium to leave one lane open on Rene-Levesque Blvd. to keep traffic moving to and from the island.

The bridge build, however, is on a tight scheduled and has to be completed by the end of 2018, leaving little time to redraw plans.