If you love the modern urban look of metal on asphalt, the soothing sensation of perpetual immobility, and the noxious smell of exhaust fumes in the morning, the tattered roadways in and around the island of Montreal are the place for you this summer. The blitz of infrastructure work that was finally undertaken years ago after decades of neglect is again hitting its stride over the next few months and more than half of the bridges on and off the island will be littered with traffic cones. So prepare to be patient, fill your gas tank and your thermos, and if you don’t already, consider wearing Depends.
It will surely hurt, but Quebec’s Ministry of Transport says the pain will be kept to a minimum since most of the work will be done in the evenings and on weekends. The Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge on the island’s western tip will have some maintenance work done until the end of the year. The interchange of highways 13 and 40 will be hampered all summer by the reconstruction of the Highway 13 bridge over Highway 40 as well as maintenance work. The Pie-IX Bridge will undergo repairs starting in August.
This summer, the Ville-Marie Tunnel will have some maintenance work done and both directions of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Tunnel Bridge will get a new layer of asphalt. From June to August the Jacques Cartier Bridge will be paved and there will be construction work on Highway 10 between highways 134 and 30. The Honoré-Mercier Bridge will undergo maintenance work between June 26 to July 19.
The only routes onto the island that will be spared are the Papineau-Leblanc Bridge on Highway 19, and the one on Highway 15. On the bright side, the new $4.2 billion Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge is expected to open in mid-June — the northbound lanes heading into Montreal, first, the southbound lanes at a later date.
Travelling downtown from the north end will take some imagination since the Decarie Boulevard and Turcot project area, Pie-IX Boulevard, Viau Street and the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Tunnel Bridge will all be under construction.
There will also be numerous street closings to add to the gridlock. Ste. Catherine Street West, between McGill College Avenue and Bleury Street, will be closed until 2020 and Jean-Talon Street will be off limits until the end of the summer due to subway station renovations.
Saint-Hubert Street between Jean-Talon Street and Saint-Zotique Street East should still be avoided due to underground infrastructure and road construction. And Viau, between Bellechasse and Beaubien East, will be completely closed.
In all, some 260 kilometers of road will be under some form of repair this summer and the City of Montreal says it will do its best to erect displays and electronic signs that indicate alternate routes.