After almost a decade of work, delays, negotiations, rerouting, traffic and frustration, the direct link to the Montreal-Trudeau airport has opened. Partially, at least. Cars have access to the eastbound ramp to Highway 20 since early Thursday morning.
« As it stands, the completed sections have removed 30,000 cars per day from the Dorval Circle, » explains Martin Girard, spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport.
The interchange is an important part of road network for both people and goods. In 2007, the decision to improve traffic flow led to a project that, if it had stuck to its original schedule, would have been completed by 2013 at a cost of $150 million.
That cost has jumped to almost $345 M dollars and though the road from the airport to downtown is open, there is still more work to do. The entire Dorval Interchange should be completed by the end of 2019.
« Until then, we will be concentrating on Michel Jasmin and Marshall Avenues, » says Girard.
The years of delays can be attributed to disputes with almost a dozen entities, including Canadian National and Canadian Pacific over the rights to build part of the interchange on their property.
The Quebec government also lost a court battle with the Best Western Hotel over the expropriation of its parking lot. A $6 M compensation was awarded and ramps had to be dismantled.
« The sector is filled with challenges. Access to the airport, the train tracks, local residents and businesses. All the partners involved presented a lot of opinions and requirements that needed to be addressed, » says Girard.
The project includes overpasses to link the airport to Highway 20 and Côte-de-Liesse, ramps between the two highways and the extension of Dorval Avenue with sidewalks and bicycle paths.