With little more than a year to go before the cones are gone and traffic can get back to normal, Chantal Rouleau – Quebec’s deputy transport minister – told the city’s media that “the project’s doing very well, it’s on time, and on budget.”
During last week’s media event, KPH Deputy Director Olivier Beaulieu told the media that almost 80% of the work is completed, and the entire multi-billion project should be finished in a year’s time. Aside from all the initial demolition, project notes indicate that most of the project’s vertical supports have already been built after which some 90% of the project’s roads and assorted access points will be opened by the end of the year. As of last Monday, drivers heading north across the new Champlain bridge can move along the 15 towards the west-bound 20 after which project manager Olivier Beaulieu said all of the project’s assorted access and exit points should be open within a few weeks’ time.
“The worst is behind us,” said Beaulieu. “It was very, very tough for us at the beginning of the project because we had to build many temporary structures , temporary roads, and several detours in order to dismantle and demolish all of the old structure before we could begin to build the new ones.”
Following further questions as to why it took so long (four years) to dismantle and re-build the massive multi-billion dollar project, Beaulieu told the media that KPH had to keep traffic lanes open (as best they could) while they continued to work their way around the city’s vital railroad infrastructure.
“An average of 50 trains per day that roll over those tracks,” he said. ‘There was no way we could even think of closing it down.”
As the CN’s (Canadian National) track is an important part of the entire nation’s massive transit infrastructure, KPH planners had to design several detours and build a number of temporary bridges to help accommodate the massive new transit project. Although it’s been a difficult time for multiple thousands of drivers who had to make their way in and out of the city on a daily basis, KPH planners also had to figure out how they were going to maintain regular traffic flow in and out of the city during their initial demolition schedule that preceded the new construction.
During her own tour of the project, Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau took some time to meet the media for a quick press conference that was held in the middle of the thruway’s new access route. Following The Suburban‘s questions about plans to build the new Dalle Parkway overpass, Rouleau said that “it’s now a city project,” and we (the Legault administration” “...fully support” the city’s intention to build the new overpass that’s meant to provide a pedestrian and bicycle link over the new highway. Aside from designated bus lanes, wider lanes for cars, and more space along the road’s shoulders for emergency vehicles and stalled cars, the minister also believes that plans to include several thousand plants, bushes and trees along the new thruway will eventually define and identify the new Turcot Exchange “as more than just a highway.”