Louis-H.-La Fontaine tunnel: “It's going to be a shambles”

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Tunnel Louis-H.-La Fontaine : “ Çit will be the messüm” /></p><p class=Trucking companies are hoping motorists will leave their vehicles at home en masse.

The Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel, a major road axis in the east of the metropolitan area, is used every day by some 120,000 vehicles, 13% of which are heavy goods vehicles.

Truckers fear the consequences of the closure, as of October 31, of three lanes of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel, which connects Montreal and Longueuil, for major repairs.

This closure, the details of which were made public Thursday by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ), will leave drivers two lanes in the direction of Montreal and only one in the direction of the South Shore.

In an interview at Tout un matin, Michel Robert, President and CEO of Groupe Robert based in Boucherville, does not hide his apprehensions.

“We hope that many motorists will take public transit to make room for buses and heavy trucks, because we have no alternatives, really none. »

— Michel Robert, President and CEO of Groupe Robert

We are in discussion with the Ministry of Transport to examine certain equipment configurations that would allow us to make large road trains and carry two containers at a time, which would also reduce GHGs.

It also asks the MTQ and the City of Montreal to allow certain accesses to facilitate this type of travel, increase the weight on these trucks during this period. He also says he is in discussion with his clients and with the authorities to try to change certain working hours.

There are things that we have examined with our customers to move movements such as working at night, although we do not have the manpower, recognizes Mr. Robert.

Food chains, large wholesalers are not equipped or have small staff, he adds.

Major traffic jam on the lanes leading to the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel.

Alain Chevrier, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the South Shore, also thinks that the closure of the three lanes of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel will create a major problem for business supply .

He thinks that it will be necessary to spread the period of transport of the goods throughout the day and even during the night if that is possible, which would entail the obligation for the companies receiving the goods to also accept to have employees available at night.

It won't be easy, retorts Michel Robert.

“Even if I asked my drivers to work nights, I'm going to have resignation letters on my desk the next day. »

— Michel Robert, President and CEO of Groupe Robert

We may be moving time slots to earlier in the morning […], but with the scarcity of labor that we are currently experiencing, it will be very difficult […] But when you remove a tube completely (tube of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel), it's like trying to pass a square in a circle. It just won't pass, continues Mr. Robert.

Freight train and containers at the Port of Montreal .

Can we do without the Port of Montreal to unload the goods?

The answer is no. Not at the moment, explains Michel Robert. With congested supply chains, we're already several hundred containers behind now, he says.

“Both the port docks and rail terminals in the West Island are at full capacity, congested. What will happen from October 31? Only God knows, but it's going to be a mess. »

— Michel Robert, President and CEO of Groupe Robert

Currently, he says, the port infrastructures do not make it possible to envisage the use of the port of Contrecœur.

Are we heading towards a slowdown in supply chains? In some cases, yes, says Robert. Some large customers who have regular arrivals of containers or who export, it will slow down, that's for sure.

These delays will also have monetary consequences, he concludes . A round trip between the South Shore and Montreal will incur exorbitant costs that will be passed on to our customers.

Interview with Marc Cadieux, President and CEO of the Quebec Trucking Association on the announced closure of three lanes of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel.

It will be extremely painful, expensive and we fear major delays in the delivery of goods, according to Marc Cadieux, president and CEO of the Quebec Trucking Association.

“There could be a disruption in supply chains at some point. »

— Marc Cadieux, President and CEO of the Quebec Trucking Association

Chantal Rouleau, Minister for Transport and Minister responsible for the Metropolis, wants to be reassuring.

“I don't foresee a disaster […] it's going to be difficult, but it won't be a disaster. »

— Chantal Rouleau, Minister for Transport and Minister responsible for Greater Montréal

It recalls the measures put in place to alleviate the pressure that will result from the closure of one of the tunnel tubes.

Chantal Rouleau, Minister Delegate for Transport and Minister responsible for Metropolitan France

A tactical committee will evaluate peak hours and all the measures put in place can be enhanced and improved, if necessary, she assures.

The Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel, a major highway in the east of the metropolitan region, is used daily by some 120,000 vehicles, 13% of which are heavy l bears.

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