The Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine project will cost $900 million more than expected

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The Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine project will cost $900 million more than expected

Three out of six lanes will be closed in the tunnel to the next three years due to repair work.

The work is already causing significant congestion, on certain occasions, near the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

A more pronounced state of deterioration than expected in the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel will force Quebec to pay an additional $900 million for repair work, announced François Bonnardel, the Minister of Transport.

In addition, the worksite will require the closure of half of its lanes, i.e. three out of six, between November 2022 and 2025; a decision that will affect the approximately 120,000 vehicles that pass through this artery daily, one of the main roads in the Montreal metropolitan network.

As of this fall, only one lane will be open in the direction of the South Shore and two in the direction of Montreal, specified the Ministry of Transport, which also anticipates repercussions on the transport of goods. Trucks represent 13% of the vehicles using this tunnel between the island of Montreal and the South Shore.

The start of the work revealed an advanced state of degradation, particularly at the level of the vault, and which could not have been detected before, argued Mr. Bonnardel on Thursday.

“Renovating old road infrastructure is a bit like renovating an old house. Sometimes we have very bad surprises, and this is the case here. »

— François Bonnardel, Minister of Transport

These works aim to ensure the sustainability of the tunnel for the next 40 years, he added at a press conference, recalling that the tunnel was inaugurated in 1967.

Quebec and Ottawa had initially jointly invested more than $500 million in tunnel repair work, but it is Quebec that will absorb all of the additional costs of the work, said Minister Bonnardel.

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Also present at the announcement, the Minister for Transport and Minister responsible for Greater Montréal and the Montreal region acknowledged the impediments to come [which] will cause headaches to users.

“I know the situation will be difficult, but we ask for your patience and vigilance. »

— Chantal Rouleau, Minister for Transport and Minister responsible for Greater Montréal and the Montreal region

The government is proposing various mitigation measures for motorists, including travel depend on the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel. Bus lines 520, 521, 532 and 461 will be free from the start of major obstructions.

The river shuttle between Boucherville and Parc de la Promenade-Bellerive will be maintained until in November 2022, with additional service on weekends.

Better access to the Longueuil metro will also be studied, said Ms. Rouleau.

The first mitigation measures were put in place in December 2021, including a lane reserved for buses, taxis and carpooling on Highway 20, towards Montreal, or the addition of some 800 incentive parking spaces in Boucherville and Beloeil.

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