Orange cones to make a comeback in Greater Montreal this summer with major roadwork planned

Traffic is detoured off of highway 40 eastbound in Vaudreuil-Dorion, west of Montreal as the Ile-aux-Tourtes bridge on Highway 40 remains closed, in Montreal, Friday, May 21, 2021. Peter McCabe/The Canadian Press

Mobilité Montréal and its partners, including the City of Montreal and Quebec’s Transport Ministry (MTQ), unveiled the 2021 major roadwork plan featuring some 50 construction sites in and around the greater Montreal area.

Unlike previous years when roadwork was concentrated to specific areas due to major infrastructure projects, this year’s plan includes sites spread out across the island.

With construction gearing up and COVID-19 restrictions loosening up, authorities expect to see an increase in traffic flow and congestion.

That’s why they recommend motorists plan ahead before heading out by consulting Quebec 511, which lists traffic conditions and any hindrances on the road network and how long they will last.

Mobilité Montreal will also provide an updated list of major roadwork and resulting disruptions on a weekly basis on its website.

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Officials are urging people returning to work, after telecommuting for months, to use public transit or active modes of transportation to get around.

MTQ spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun warned that despite roadwork being scattered across the city, highways 13 and 40 will be hotspots to avoid.

To help ease congestion and improve traffic flow, the city has identified some 50 streets that will remain open in key areas, including Papineau and De Lorimier avenues, Sherbrooke Street, and René-Levesque Boulevard.

Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin also said that while it might seem like never-ending construction, of the 20 roadwork projects the city is directly responsible for, 10 are slated to be finished by year’s end and five over the summer.

Five bridges to undergo major work

While Montrealers will have to prepare to navigate a sea of orange cones in the city, getting to and from the island might also become trickier as major spans are scheduled for major work.

Bensadoun reiterated the full reopening of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge connecting the western part of Montreal to Vaudreuil-Dorion in the Montérégie remains a top priority.

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The transport minister ordered the bridge’s emergency closure in May for safety reasons after damaged reinforcement rods were discovered in the structure.

Two of three lanes in each direction have since been reopened ahead of schedule as crews carry out the necessary repairs.

Bensadoun said the ministry’s goal is to have the bridge fully reopened by June 24.

Construction on the Louis-Bisson bridge connecting Montreal to Laval on Highway 13 will be ongoing 24/7, seven according to Bensadoun.

“That is good news,” she said, adding work is expected to finish this year.

Commuters can expect partial overnight and weekend closures.

The dismantling of the southbound section of the Pie-IX bridge, also connecting Montreal to Laval, is in the final stages with construction set to begin shortly. Traffic mitigation measures include have one lane open in each direction except during rush hour, where both lanes will be reserved for traffic heading into Montreal in the morning and back to Laval in the evening.

Commuters heading to and from the south shore are not being spared with work scheduled for the Louis-Hyppolite-La Fontaine tunnel and the Mercier bridge.

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Click to play video: 'It’s official: Quebec has the worst roads in Canada'
It’s official: Quebec has the worst roads in Canada

Work to be done on the tunnel will require the complete closure of the “tubes,” heading in one direction or the other. Bensadoun said work would not happen simultaneously so as avoid a complete closure in both directions.

She also warned of possible weekend closures.

For the Mercier, travellers can expect weekend and overnight closures with one lane open in each direction.

Bensadoun said while there has been ongoing roadwork due to aging infrastructure, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as major projects are approaching completion.

“In five years there will be not more Turcot, no more work on the Samuel-de-Champlain bridge, no more on the Bisson bridge, or the axis of Highway 13 and the REM will be in operation,” she said.

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Bensadoun explained that much of the city’s road network was built in the 1960s and 70s, meaning many structures have needed replacing over the last decade as they reached their end-of-life stage.

A full list of roadwork projects and maps of construction hotspots can be found on the Montreal Mobilité website.

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