Controversial new Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue traffic configuration takes effect

Click to play video: 'Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue limits left turns on des Anciens-Combattants'
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue limits left turns on des Anciens-Combattants
A one-year pilot project limiting left turns on des Anciens-Combattants at the intersection leading to Highway 20 west came into effect Monday. As Global's Dan Spector reports, the idea is to limit traffic congestion during the evening rush hour – Sep 17, 2018

It’s a new era where des Anciens-Combattants meets Highway 20.

As of Monday afternoon, people heading north on Saint-Pierre can no longer turn left onto the 20 westbound during the week between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“Next month or two months is gonna be hit and miss as people become accustomed to the new rules,” said Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa.

The mayor says there’s been a common rush-hour problem.

Because the lineup to get on the 20 west from the north side gets so long, people try to get on from the south side. Hawa says that makes traffic back up into the quiet streets of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

“People who actually live here cannot get out, emergency response vehicles cannot get in,” the mayor explained.

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“Every night, between 5 to 6 p.m. where I live, it’s traffic,” said Pierre Sevigny, a Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue resident for the past 50 years.

Hawa says people were well-informed of the change.

“We’ve been at this telling people, advising people since about July. We started this process back in March,” she explained.

READ MORE: No lefts allowed: New configuration at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue intersection

It seemed that not everyone got the memo, however, as numerous motorists attempted the turn, only to be shut down by police officers on site.

Half a dozen police and public security officers were on hand to help motorists with the transition. Global News observed a handful of tense exchanges.

“It’s horrible! Now we have to do a detour before you hit the highway. Why would they do this?” exclaimed motorist Patricia Bouchard from her car as she discovered the change.

“I’m not too impressed. It’s going to make my drive home a lot longer,” said motorist Rob Corey.

READ MORE: Seeing green: Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue encouraging drivers to slow down

Buses and emergency vehicles are still allowed to make the turn.

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For everyone else, to get on the 20 west during the afternoon rush, you’ll either have to get on from the north side or take the 20 east to Baie d’Urfé and loop back.

“I think it’s going to be good for the people of Ste Anne’s,” said Sevigny, who was among the residents who came just to watch how it would all play out. “But the people who pass here, it’s trouble for them.”

Although there were some growing pains, the mayor saw a lot of positives on Day 1.

“It was a pretty good first hour, less chaotic than I thought it was going to be,” Hawa said,

Once the officers are no longer on site directing traffic, barriers will be deployed to block the turning lane in the coming weeks.

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