Repair work on the Saint-Pierre interchange continues on a regular basis with more lane closures planned the weekend of Oct. 27th to 29th.
Now, officials are looking beyond the ongoing repairs to eventually replace the entire structure, but no timeline nor budget is being released.
“It’s in the planning stages but it will be rebuilt — we just need to do all the work before we can start doing it,” Louis-André Bertrand, a Transports Québec Spokesperson tells Global News.
Global News has learned that more than $113 million has been spent on repairs and maintenance on the interchange in the years between 2013 and 2o22.
Sixty-eight thousand vehicles a day use the structure, which is the main gateway between Highway 20 and the Mercier Bridge.
And according to Transports Québec’s website — part of the Mercier Bridge falls under provincial jurisdiction — the section above the Saint-Lawrence River is also in the planning stages to be replaced with a new one.
According to the website, two lanes in each direction will be built as well a possible bike lane.
A 2021 Transports Québec inspection report calls for the rebuilding of part of the Saint-Pierre interchange. Bertrand says the entire structure, which was built in the late 1960s, will be eventually rebuilt. Bertrand says the structure has come to the end of its useful life.
But before any work can begin, a lot of consultations need to occur.
“This is a heavy populated area. There are railroads, there is the Lachine canal, residential, commercial, industrial neighbourhoods in the area,” he said.
The president of Quebec’s Trucking Association won’t weigh in on whether a new structure is required but Marc Cadieux says the industry has a lot riding on making sure traffic flows smoothly.
“There is always a pressure on the industry, cost-wise, time-wise and obviously, our work force,” Cadieux said.
Keeping traffic flowing is also critical for owners of small and medium-sized businesses.
Traffic congestion remains a hot-button issue.
“It is not possible to drive your car or your truck in Montreal anywhere in the city without seeing an orange cone or a detour,” François Vincent, the Quebec vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told Global News.
Repairs will continue on the Saint-Pierre interchange until a new one is built.