Hudson-Oka ferry directional signs covered to mitigate traffic from Île-aux-Tourtes bridge closure

Click to play video: 'Road signs to Hudson-Oka ferry covered up to alleviate traffic congestion' Road signs to Hudson-Oka ferry covered up to alleviate traffic congestion
If you don't know your way to the Hudson-Oka ferry you might have trouble finding it. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports the city of Hudson asked for road signs to the ferry to be covered to mitigate traffic in the area stemming from the closure of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge – May 26, 2021

Directional signs for the Hudson Oka ferry have been covered to mitigate traffic caused by the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge closure in the city of Hudson.

Despite continuing to offer the water-crossing service throughout the Hudson territory, Quebec transport ministry signage has been covered by orange plastic.

The move comes at the request of the city of Hudson.

 READ MORE: Quebec announces a slow reopening of Île-aux-Tourtes bridge

City officials say the small town has been overrun by vehicle traffic caused by drivers looking for alternatives to get around major gridlock throughout the western tip of the island.

Hudson mayor Jamie Nicholls said the road network was not designed to carry the 87,000 cars and trucks that pass over the île-aux-Tourtes bridge every day.

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“The traffic caused by the lineups poses a public security problem because the passage of emergency vehicles is blocked at Main and Bellevue, where the ferry is located,” Nicholls said.

READ MORE: Île-aux-Tourtes bridge shutdown prompts Montreal-area school closures, bus route cancellations

“It was a surprise to see that the road signs were drilled into,” Hudson Oka Ferry owner Claude Desjardins said.

Desjardins claims the sign coverings are no longer necessary.

He admits the first days of the Ile-aux-Tourtes bridge closure caused major traffic issues, but they have since been dramatically reduced.

“Friday was a catastrophe, but understand people were and still are looking for alternatives,” Desjardins said.

With signs now covered, Desjardins says it creates confusion for drivers and daily users who believe the ferry is closed, causing issues with business.

Desjardins says on Tuesday, he recorded 10 fewer crossings than normal and the boats were not all full.

“We have a role to play in this situation, we can help in this crisis, but we are being hindered,” Desjardins said.

READ MORE: Transport minister announces emergency closure of Île-aux-Tourtes bridge in West Island

The city of Hudson disagrees, saying the number of vehicles the ferry can carry per hour is not nearly enough to alleviate the congestion.

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“The problem was far worse when the bridge first closed last week. The Town acted swiftly to work with the MTQ to protect the well-being of Hudsonites,” Nicholls said.

On the other side of Hudson, in the town of Oka, the ferry signs are not affected.

The transport ministry says the signs will remain covered until the bridge is reopened.

Quebec Transport Minster François Bonnardel announced a gradual reopening of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge starting next Monday.

On June 14, two lanes will be open in each direction, with a complete reopening of three lanes in each direction expected by June 21.

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