As of Monday, three out of six lanes in the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel will be closed for the next few years. Are we ready for the megatunnel project? An expert explains.
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“We achieved everything we could do in the few months that enabled us to achieve the measures we had set out. There are things we could have done if we had had more time, for example with a year or two. We could also have delayed the construction,” says Pierre Barrieau, a transportation planning specialist at the University of Montreal.
As the mega construction site will bring about major changes in people’s daily lives, citizens are taking initiatives to organize themselves. Does this responsibility lie with the population?
“I have to admit that I’m surprised that the government of Quebec has not taken a leading position in terms of carpooling. Quebec is one of the world leaders in the development of carpooling applications and all mobility algorithms. So we really have all the local players that already deliver to the cities of Seoul, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, and yet we have not decided here to utilize this strength,” he says.
Will Monday be the mirror for the next three years?
“We should not take Monday as a scale to base the situation on for the next three years. People will be more nervous. Monday should go relatively well. It is from next week that we will be able to see the real habits of the next three years being established. But the real test will be during the first snowstorm,” analyzes the expert.
And the lack of time limits the measures the government could take to adapt to the effects of the megasite.
“There aren’t many changes we can make. We don’t have time to put up a temporary peripheral line that crosses the river, for example. Quebec has a shortage of ferries. We can’t speed up the REM construction site, which was supposed to open on time, but won’t. We’re hoping to get more commuter trains and bus routes, but we’re pretty limited due to more than 40 years of neglect in our road infrastructure,” he concludes.