After a spring and partial summer of driving in the city of cones, one could have been excused for hoping that the week before the construction holiday would see some respite. But no, not here.
Last week it seemed as if everything that should have been done on a planned schedule was suddenly crammed into one week. And the reasons given always included two words: “ pavage” and “Turcot.”
As frustrated as you may have been during the morning and afternoon rush hours, you dared not venture out after 9 or 10 at night. Let’s review some of the highlights shall we?
Last Wednesday the 40 east was closed from Hymus and Decarie South was closed its length.Work was supposed to start at 9pm but didn’t get under way until 10.30. Traffic was detoured to the 13 south and then the 20 east.
That process took 40 minutes. Just when your tires started rolling a bit on the 20, and you thought you caught a break, you came to a closure on the 20 with a sign flashing that 15 north and the Atwater and Guy exits on the 720 east into downtown were also closed. Then you were hit with more orange detour signs guiding you onto Notre Dame. But Notre Dame east had been made into two-way traffic. After this pleasantry, and taking another half hour, you found yourself at the only available exit for the West End....Mountain St. North, right in front of the Bell Centre. It then just took you another half hour to get out of downtown and reach the West End.
The next night you may have felt that you could outsmart the system. So you decided to take the 20 east right away and forget the 40 E and Decarie S which were still closed at 9pm. Well, the transit planning geniuses got you again. Because this time — just as you saw the big green “Montreal Centre-Ville” sign, you found everything closed. 720 east, 15 north, everything. And there were the orange detour signs taking you to the 15 south and the Champlain Bridge! Somewhere after Nun’s Island you were detoured back north to the city and ended up on the Bonaventure packed up like sardines with all the other detourees. After a half hour of that, there you were back on the Bell Centre’s rue St.Antoine fighting your way back to the West End.
The rest of the week was just as maddening and we won’t bore you with the details. But we need to ask if the people in charge really comprehend the full ramifications of their planning or lack thereof. Do these bureaucrats ever realize that their actions are truly making people ill? Yes, people. Never mind the congestion and air pollution. If one person were to have a heart attack from rage and frustration, can you imagine ambulances being able to save them in the midst of these bottlenecks? We have so many prohibitions for the sake of health, yet we allow the traffic planners to impose these torts on the public? It is beyond is reprehensible. It is professional misfeasance.
Not to be outdone by the incompetence of Montreal road planners, we got two other pieces of news in transit this week that beggared the imagination. It came to light that the Trudeau Airport REM station — whose construction commencement was ceremoniously unveiled last week — would NOT be connecting with the Dorval train station less than a kilometre away. One can only plead WHY NOT? But that would be too logical.
Then the cherry on the week’s transit cake was announced this past Monday by the Quebec Ministry of Transport. One day into the construction holiday the MTQ confirmed what so many of us have suspected as we made our way over over teeth-shattering potholes and road fissures. The MTQ confirmed that only 5% of roads under it’s authority were of concrete. The rest were asphalt or other mixes. That’s like replacing filet mignon with ground beef! But hey, it’s only our tax dollars and our health. So who cares, right?
It really is time to ask, “Is anybody home here?!”