The Turcot Interchange is a major highway junction in Montreal, connecting the north-south Autoroute 15 and the east-west Autoroute 20/720. The elevated interchange accommodates about 280,000 vehicles a day. It is located near several working-class neighbourhoods, and is next to a rail-yard as well as the Saint-Jacques Escarpment. Hastily constructed in 1966-67 in time for Expo 1967, it is now disintegrating badly and is in urgent need of reconstruction and better engineering.
The Quebec Ministry of Transportation (MTQ in French) presented a plan in 2007 to reconstruct the Turcot Interchange, in a way that would minimize traffic disruptions. This project, estimated to cost $1.5 billion and to take several years to complete, would involve (among other things):
● Putting much of the interchange on embankments to reduce maintenance costs;
● Widening Autoroute 720;
● Shifting Autoroute 20 northward, to the very foot of the escarpment.
● The embankments would increase air pollution for local residents, and would block access between neighbourhoods;
● The shift of Autoroute 20 to the north would imperil the escarpment’s ecological integrity;
● There are no provisions for reduced automobile use.
● Making room for public transit on the new interchange (i.e. reserved lanes) and investing in new transit projects, leading to a 20% reduction in automobile traffic;
● An immediate rebuilding or renovation of parts of the existing interchange.
● A linear park between the highway and the escarpment;
● Almost no expropriations in the Village des Tanneries;
● A reserved bus lane along Autoroute 20/720.
Do you think the MTQ’s new plan has gone far enough to meet the objections to its original proposal?
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