Closures will 'trap' LaSalle motorists for full year: Mayor

Politicians and Residents from LaSalle are decrying Transport Quebec’s decision to simultaneously close the two main access points to the borough, as the Turcot Interchange projects enters a new phase.

Starting Monday, southbound traffic on highway 15 below Turcot will be rerouted onto the northbound structure, closing the exit to Blvd. de la Verendrye until the end of 2019.

Then in mid-January, access to Angrignon Blvd. via highway 20 and Notre-Dame will be squeezed significantly, as the intersection, which now sports two lanes in either direction, is reduced to just one lane, alternating one direction at a time.

“Those closures will affect LaSalle dramatically,” said borough mayor Manon Barbe, in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

The only real option for motorists who want to access LaSalle will be the 138, which also carries traffic toward the Mercier Bridge, and is frequently plagued with orange cones.

“We will be trapped,” Barbe said, clearly exasperated by what she feels is a lack of sympathy for the residents and business of her community.

The closures will cause serious traffic headaches during the commutes; but, that is only one small part of the damage Barbe fears could come as a result.

“We did a small survey of businesses,” she said. “It’s a minimum of $230 million in losses for the business people, and probably 1,000 jobs lost.”

Many of the people who live in LaSalle work in other parts of the city, while many people who work in LaSalle, commute in from elsewhere in the region, according to Barbe.

“With that closure, it will probably take an extra 45 minutes to an hour, maybe (workers) will look for jobs elsewhere,” she said. “We are also worried about how we are going to retain employees.”

How emergency and city service vehicles will get in and out of the borough, she also doesn’t know.

“When you have a snow removal operation, you’re talking about 250 trucks an hour around that intersection,” she said.

The LaSalle snow dump is just up the hill from the intersection that will be affected.

“Can you imagine when there is only one lane going in and out at a time?” she asked. “It’s going to be catastrophic.”

The borough has asked Transport Quebec to reconsider its timeline for the projects, and take 3-4 months to widen the Angrignon intersection before reducing circulation.

“I don’t want to be the one paying the note for an irresponsible decision made a year or so ago,” she said.