MONTREAL - Following what's becoming an annual Montreal tradition, the St. Jacques St. exit on the westbound Ville Marie Expressway is closing from now until September.

Transport Quebec has closed the exit so it can rebuild the offramp, and other agencies can build new structures, including an electrical at the southeast corner of the MUHC superhospital campus.

St. Jacques St. itself is supposed to stay open in both directions this year, although occasionally individual lanes will be closed.

Taking the Atwater exit and continuing west along St-Antoine adds an extra two minutes to the ride according to Google Maps but when traffic lights and congestion are taken into account, that delay usually becomes considerably longer. 

Last year authorities closed the exit for seven months, having announced the closure mere days in advance before shutting it down on February 1. The Transport Ministry promised to reopen it June 24 but only reopened it on September 10, a full 10 weeks longer than promised, as the construction work took about 50 percent longer than originally promised.

The closure means that the exit, considered an essential traffic valve for returning West End rush hour motorists, will have been closed about 14 of the 19 months between February 2011 and September 2012.

Throughout the summer the city of Montreal will also be replacing sewer lines and water mains on Decarie Blvd. and more large-scale urban plumbing will take place between De Maisonneuve Blvd. and Sherbooke St. directly north of Vendome metro station.