The La Fontaine tunnel is half closed, so here are your options

Your guide to navigating – and hopefully avoiding – three years of commuter traffic chaos.

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If the works of the La Fontaine tunnel concern you, we want to hear from you. Email [email protected] to share your story.

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On Monday, the $2.3 billion renovation of the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine tunnel begins a three-year period where the number of traffic lanes is reduced to half its usual capacity, with lanes in both directions sharing half the tunnel. This will lead to rush-hour traffic congestion, and the Quebec government and local transportation companies have put in place various measures to mitigate the effects and provide other options for South Shore commuters.

They urge those who normally pass through the tunnel – around 120,000 vehicles a day – to use other options.

As part of the renovation plan, the southbound tunnel will be completely closed for a year and a half, then the northbound tunnel will be closed for another year and a half. In both cases, two lanes will be open to Montreal and one lane to the South Shore at all times. The bottleneck could triple or quadruple travel times.

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Your choices

Free park and ride shuttles: Another 800 parking spaces have been added to the five park-and-ride lots on the South Shore, bringing the total to 2,400. Free shuttles will take people from these lots to the Radisson metro station, and until November 27, passengers of these free shuttles will benefit from two free passes to continue their journey by public transport to their destination.

Boucherville:

  • De Mortagne parking lot (boul. Mortagne and Highway 20): 294 parking spaces, 4 charging stations, 14 bicycle parking spaces. Free RTL 61 or 461 bus or Exo 520 or 521 bus to Radisson metro station.
  • De Touraine parking lot (Chemin Touraine and Highway 20): 333 parking spaces. Free RTL 61 or 461 bus or Exo 520 or 521 bus to Radisson metro station.

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St. Julie:

  • Ste-Julie parking lot (Chemin du Fer-à-Cheval and Highway 20): 953 parking spaces, 70 bicycle parking spaces. Free Exo bus 520 or 521 to Radisson metro station.

Beloeil:

  • Beloeil parking lot (rue Industrie, near rue Richelieu): 198 parking spaces, 20 parking spaces for bicycles. Free Exo bus 520 or 521 to Radisson metro station.

Varennes:

  • Terminus de Varennes (rue Jules-Phaneuf): 128 parking spaces, 12 bicycle parking spaces. Free Exo 532 bus to Radisson metro station.

Carpooling: Cars with at least three occupants can use a lane reserved for buses/taxis on Highway 20 westbound, between Ste-Julie and Boucherville. Buses will be allowed to travel along the shoulder in this area.

Existing and improved transit options:

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  • The service has been increased with the addition of trains on the Yellow Line of the metro.
  • Other buses have been added to the South Shore lines serving the Longueuil terminus, next to the Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke metro station.
  • The Mont-St-Hilaire commuter train offers an option for commuters, with free parking at each station.
  • New collective taxis have been created to serve the Boucherville industrial park.
  • The STM has added a new shuttle, the 822 Longue-Pointe, which connects the Radisson metro station to local destinations including the SAQ head office and CFB Longue-Pointe.

River shuttle: A ferry carrying pedestrians and bicycles from Boucherville to Bellerive Park in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough of Montreal will continue until November 13 and will be free, although reservations are recommended. The ferry departs approximately every 45 minutes at peak times and takes approximately 30 minutes. It also operates on weekends during the day.

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Other bridges:

  • Jacques-Cartier Bridge: Normal operation
  • Victoria Bridge: One lane to Montreal in the morning and to Longueuil in the afternoon
  • Samuel-De Champlain Bridge: Normal operation, but the work to dismantle the old bridge could disrupt certain access points on the South Shore on the weekend, particularly along Route 132
  • Mercier Bridge: Normal operation, but reduced to one lane on some weekends

Other options considered

Prohibit solo drivers during rush hour: Michel Leblanc, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, suggested that cars without passengers be banned from entering the tunnel during rush hour, and that only carpoolers, truckers and public transport vehicles be allowed. during this period. The Quebec government says it is open to the idea, but will wait to see how existing mitigation measures will work first.

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Additional public transport fare reductions: Free shuttles cross the tunnel, but the City of Montreal has asked the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority to study all fare options in order to best encourage the use of public transport.

Complications

REM is late: The Metropolitan Express Network, which was to open its South Shore section to Brossard in December, has been postponed until the spring. Buses from the South Shore will therefore continue to use the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge to get to downtown Montreal during rush hour.

The reopening of the Victoria Bridge is late: Work on the Victoria Bridge, which was due to be completed in September, will continue until December. Thus, only one lane will be open, towards Montreal in the morning and towards Longueuil in the afternoon and evening.

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River shuttles closed for the season: While a ferry for pedestrians and cyclists will continue to operate between Boucherville and the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough of Montreal, others, including one between Boucherville and the Old Port, have ended their seasons and will not resume until in spring. “Contractual reasons” prevent the river shuttle from the Old Port from continuing further in the fall.

  1. Traffic is stuck approaching the La Fontaine Tunnel on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. Even by Montreal standards, the three-year blockage of a tunnel used by 120,000 vehicles a day is a doozy, writes Allison Hanes.

    Allison Hanes: La Fontaine’s nightmare gets Montreal commuters in trouble – again

  2. Louis Hippolyte La Fontaine tunnel.

    Work on the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel will last until 2025

  3. Traffic is heading south to the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel linking Montreal to the South Shore.

    “It will not be easy”, says Legault as the partial closure of the La Fontaine tunnel looms

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