Parks Canada suggests 13.6-km detour for popular Lachine Canal bike path

Click to play video 'Bike path detour has Montreal cyclists seeing red' Bike path detour has Montreal cyclists seeing red
Cyclists are not pleased about a long detour during construction along the Lachine Canal. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports.

Cyclists are seeing red amid a lengthy detour and sea of orange cones in Montreal’s LaSalle borough.

A wall of detour signs blocks the entrance of a popular waterside bike path along the Lachine Canal.

“I was confused. I thought it was murder scene because of the caution tape all around,” cyclist Emmanuel Galianos-Audet said.

The 1.5-kilometre stretch of bike path along the canal is closed off as Parks Canada carries out “critical repairs and restoration” work on the canal walls.

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Cyclist Trifo Carathanasis says the closure has really put a dent in his travel time.

“Even on a bike you can’t get away from the pylons and construction. It’s impossible,” Carathanasis said.

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An alternative route has been proposed by Parks Canada. The suggested detour, however, is nine times longer than the original path.

Proposed Parks Canada bike path detour.
Proposed Parks Canada bike path detour. Global News

The alternate route is 13.6 kilometres long and uses municipal bike paths. It turns a five-minute ride into a 45-minute trek, according to cyclist André Plourde.

“That’s the difference between being on time and being late for work, ” he said.

Some cyclists say they would rather take their chances and bike on busy St-Patrick Street rather than have to take the long way around.

Parks Canada said in a statement it is aware of the issue and the inconvenience the detour poses.

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“Due to the magnitude of the construction work in the area, Parks Canada had no choice, but to close this portion of the canal, including the banks and path, in the interest of public safety,” the statement reads.

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Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific Rail are discussing the creation of a temporary bike path on the south side of the canal, adjacent to St-Patrick Street.

The federal agency says cyclists should expect to see a new bike path in the coming weeks.

The restoration work is expected to last until June 2020.