MONTREAL – Transport Quebec announced a series of closures this weekend as it ramps up badly needed work on the Turcot Interchange.
Starting at 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, the A-720 West ramp to the A-15 South and the A-20 East ramp toward the A-15 South will be closed.
The A-15 South within the interchange and the A-15 South ramp to the A-720 will be closed in the evening Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
South Shore motorists are advised to take either the Victoria or Jacques-Cartier bridges, or to use the Autoroute Bonaventure.
Officials are also telling drivers to avoid the interchange entirely — small comfort if you’re a West Island driver needing to get to the downtown core.
“It’s hard when you have to drive to Montreal, I avoid it at all costs,” one driver said coming off the Turcot.
This work is the precursor to the major overhaul of the interchange, one that now has a sticker price of $3.7 billion, and that won’t be done till 2020.
Renovations are expected to continue through August, although the province wants to get much of the work done as early as possible to avoid butting up against Montreal’s summer construction blitz.
Civil engineer Saeed Mirza said that the Turcot overhaul — which was put off for years by successive administrations — represents a failure in management.
“Unfortunately our present philosophy is design, build, and forget. and leave the maintenance to somebody else,” he said.
When the Turcot was built in the 1960s, it was a crucial transit cog in the city’s infrastructure, now routine maintenance costs tens of millions of dollars a year.