Section of major Montreal artery drops to single lane for 7 months

Click to play video: 'Section of major Montreal artery drops to single lane for 7 months'
Section of major Montreal artery drops to single lane for 7 months
WATCH: A section of busy Notre-Dame East Street, near Dickson Avenue, has been down to one lane since July and road work hasn't even started yet. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Oct 18, 2023

There is little relief for drivers who have been stuck in daily traffic jams along Notre-Dame Street East in Montreal’s east end.

A section of the main eastbound artery near the Dickson Street intersection will be down to one lane for at least seven months.

“The city is upset about this situation. We’re not satisfied at all,” city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said.

The busy street in the heart of the industrial sector has been snarled by daily congestion since the summer due to the funnelling of traffic.

City engineers closed down the lane to cars in July after discovering the trap door to the underground sewer entrance was cracked, making the area unsafe for drivers. That means that if the work is not done until January, the lane will have been closed for up to seven months.

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The large manhole measures 1.5 metres in width and nearly three metres in length.

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Sabourin says the city is waiting on a custom piece of equipment to be crafted out of cast iron.

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“The city already ordered the piece of equipment. It’s going to be produced by a smelter but it will take 20 weeks to produce produce this piece of equipment,” Sabourin said.

In the meantime, Sabourin says no safe alternatives have been suggested to allow traffic to return to normal.

“It’s so wide a car could fall in the hole and with the high traffic of heavy trucks, that produces a lot of vibration. The steel plate will not stay. It’s not easy.

With thousands of commuters travelling on the route every day, traffic expert Rick Leckner said having this major artery down for that length of time is unacceptable.

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“In today’s day and age with all kinds of construction methods, it seems that they can find a temporary solution that will work if this thing will be protracted until the month of January. It’s unacceptable,” Leckner said.

The option of allowing dynamic traffic flow is not possible, according to Sabourin, who said the configuration of the street is the main crux of the issue.

Despite this, the city is considering its options.

“If we’re not sure about the safety of the ‘Plan B,’ we will wait for the worst-case scenario, which is waiting until January.”

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