Montrealers protest the imminent expansion of the Turcot interchange
By Tyler Finigan
The Ministère des Transports de Quebec (MTQ) unveiled the government of Quebec’s three billion dollar plan to expand the Turcot interchange on Nov. 9.
The plans for the Turcot were created in order to minimize the in and out bound traffic congesting the interchange, in efforts to reduce the pollution surrounding the highways.
However, contradictory to MTQ’s intentions, the plans to increase the Turcot interchange will also expand its vehicle capacity to over 300,000 potentially creating the same problems it purports to solve.
Furthermore, according to Patrick Barnard, English professor at Dawson College, a considerable number of Montrealers die because of the pollution created by traffic and an expansion of the interchange will increase traffic and automobile pollution by 10%. Construction is scheduled to start in 2012 and to last around six years. But with official plans to be finalized by Dec. 31 of next year, planners believe it might take longer and be more costly then stated.
Officials say that in order to reconstruct the Turcot they will have to tear into the Tanneries that line the current highway, just north of the St. Remi tunnel and demolishing approximately 100 homes, leaving residents to find new apartments.
To minimize the impact on traffic during the construction, officials state that they will build around the existing highways.
According to Derek Robertson, a member of Mobilization Turcot (a collective against the expansion), daily commuters “will be adversely effected by many highway reconstruction projects all happening at once.”
“They’re supposed to reconstruct part of the Decarie circle, Autoroute Bonaventure, Autoroute 20 at the Dorval circle, etc. yet the MTQ says four more commuter trains from the West Island is adequate.”
Robertson Barnard insists that there are ulterior motives to what the MTQ has proposed. “Montreal and Quebec have the possibility to produce a very different transport network,” Barnard said. “We have the technology, homegrown no less, to create light rail trains but instead of using it ourselves, we sell them to foreign consumers.” Robertson believes that it’s too early to clarify the exact future of the Turcot interchange.
“There doesn’t seem to be any coordinated plan, no discussion of the totality of the changes coming over the next 12 years in the southwest of Montreal. The gateway to Montreal is to be transformed and no one is speaking nor showing how it will all be done,” Robertson concluded.