Dust from Turcot Interchange work irks Westmount residents

Turcot Demolition operations in full swing. Brayden Jagger Haines

The Friday afternoon rain was welcome in Westmount after cars and homes on several streets just off Ste-Catherine Street were caked in a film of dust.

The demolition of the Turcot Interchange and Highway 720 West have stirred up clouds of dust particles in the area, according to residents.

“There is a huge amount of dust coming out of the highway,” Carlos Angel said.

READ MORE: Westmount loses injunction to stop construction of Turcot interchange

Cynthia Lulham, a Westmount city councillor, lives a block away from the affected streets. She said the dust was particularly acute the weekend of Aug. 13.

“A dirty car isn’t much of an issue but I had people wearing hospital masks in their homes,” Lulham said.

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Transports Québec said it is aware of the unhealthy amount of dust that weekend, but said the construction work needs to be done.

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KPH Turcot, the company in charge of dismantling the interchange, told residents in a letter that mitigation methods to reduce the dust were put in place but were not as effective.

The company said water cannons used to weigh down particles were not placed well and were inefficient.

READ MORE: Westmount residents bracing for upcoming extra loud Turcot work

“Why didn’t they stop the work?” Lulham said. “Why did they keep the project operating creating dust clouds they could not control?”

Transports Québec spokesperson Martin Girard said there is “always a possibility to improve.”

With demolition work continuing this weekend, KPH Turcot said that water cannons will now be mounted onto telescopic handlers above the dust to weigh it down in the air.

READ MORE: City of Westmount files injuction against the MTQ over change of plans for Turcot Interchange

The company has also offered residents a free car wash voucher at the Super Class Car Wash for the dust accumulation.

The City of Westmount is encouraging residents affected by the construction to attend the upcoming Turcot neighbourhood meetings at the end of the month and voice their opinions.

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The meetings are set for Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. at Victoria Hall and Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. at 75 Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier Square.

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