Montreal's Ville-Marie and Viger tunnels to undergo massive 10-year overhaul
Once considered an engineering marvel, the Ville-Marie tunnel was built to connect two major highways, the Decarie Expressway and the Louis-Hippolyte-Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel.
More than 45 years later, however, the Ville-Marie tunnel will now undergo major renovations along with the neighbouring Viger Tunnel, built in 1986; it's a 10-year project and a total cost of $2 billion.
“We expect that this project of 10 years' renovation will make these tunnels last for another 40 years,” said Transports Quebec spokesperson Gilles Payer.
Transports Quebec says almost half of the project will not impede on traffic, but there will be some closures.
The De la Montagne/Saint-Jacques Street exit on the Ville-Marie eastbound will close.
“This part of the tunnel will be closed for many, many months. I would say more than one year maybe,” said Payer.
Work will focus on ventilation, electricity and drainage.
It comes just as other major infrastructure work like the Turcot Interchange wraps up.
“None of this is for new roadwork -- that’s what we have to remember,” said traffic analyst Rick Leckner. “This is because our roads were built many, many years ago, decades ago.”
Leckner says it could be a long time before commuters are no longer surrounded by major infrastructure work.
“We’re in a situation now where just about every major expressway in Montreal has been rebuilt or is being rebuilt,” said Leckner.
“There’s still a lot on the menu including, currently, the Lafontaine tunnel, the Ville-Saint-Pierre interchange... the Metropolitain has to be redone. We’re in this for the very long term.”