Traffic is brutal but Transport Quebec promises better days ahead
While Montrealers could be forgiven if they think the city’s traffic has never been so bad but Transport Quebec officials are promising better days are on their ways.
The city’s roads and highways are marked by closures over the Canada Day weekend, including key arteries like Highway 15 from the Turcot to Champlain Bridge, as the new structure awaits the opening of its southbound lanes.
Then there’s the parts of the Bonaventure Expressway and the closure of all but one lane in each direction on the Mercier Bridge.
Traffic analyst Rick Leckner said authorities could have done a better job coordinating the work.
“Could it have been done differently? To a degree, yes,” he said. “I think a mistake was made. In the beginning of the work on the Mercier, they could have possibly suspended it, as at the same time they’re connecting the new Champlain.”
Transports Quebec spokesperson Giles Payer said scheduling the work on the long weekend was necessary.
“You have to take into account that people are naturally leaving town,” he said. “More people on holidays, less people on the road makes more place to work.”
Payer promised that brighter days are ahead. He pointed to work on the Turcot Interchange being 75 per cent complete and the opening of the Champlain Bridge as turning points.
But Leckner is more pessimistic.
“The worst of this won’t be over for a while because even with the new Champlain Bridge, it’s not going to change much,” he said. “It’s replacing one bridge, it’ll be a smoother ride.”
For those looking to get on or leave the island, the Jacques Cartier Bridge remains open this weekend, except for three hours of work on Saturday night and the Victoria Bridge has two southbound lanes open.
Leckner encouraged drivers to do their homework before leaving their homes.
“People need to check apps before they go out, they need to plan their route and maybe try to double up in terms of who they take in their car or take more people,” he said. “And, of course, everybody (should try) public transit and bikes.”