December 05 2011

Reconstruction of Montreal’s Turcot Interchange and its Impacts

present-day Turcot Interchange

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 MTQ’s plan has aroused opposition from local residents and from urban planners for several reasons:

●      The embankments would increase air pollution for local residents, and would block access between neighbourhoods;

●      Over 160 residential units in the Village des Tanneries would be expropriated due to proximity to eastbound Autoroute 720;

●      The shift of Autoroute 20 to the north would imperil the escarpment’s ecological integrity;

●      There are no provisions for reduced automobile use.

An alternative and sustainable plan (costing much less than the MTQ’s plan) by a coalition of urban planners, environmentalists, and university researchers, has suggested:

●      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.

alternative Turcot plan 

In 2010, responding to the above complaints, the MTQ made public a new plan which has called for:

●      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?

Credits: Images and documents linked to source.

Yosef Robinson

Yosef Robinson, born and raised in Montreal, holds a B.A. in Geography with a Minor in Urban Studies from Rutgers University, as well as a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University. At present, he has finished studying for a Master’s in Environment at Concordia University in Montreal, graduating in June 2012. In that program, he specialized in Environmental Impact Assessments. He is very interested in urban planning and environmental issues, such as transportation, greenspaces, and urban sprawl. As well, he is the co-author of a published article on the growth of Jewish environmental activism in Canada. He is interested in alternate history as an avocation. Yosef Robinson blogged for the GRID until April 2012.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 5th, 2011 at 8:04 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, Government/Politics, History/Preservation, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “Reconstruction of Montreal’s Turcot Interchange and its Impacts”

  1. An Update on the Reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange in Montréal, Canada | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] December 2011, a former Grid blogger, Yosef Robinson, wrote a piece about the reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange, a major highway junction in Montreal, Canada. [...]

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