The Department of Transport (MTQ) has not acted on the recommendations of its consultants to expand from one to two lanes several straps of the new Turcot Interchange in 2013 because they would have delayed the award of contract Main construction and they were going against the project implementation conditions attached since 2010.
According to the MTQ, the expansion of six straps of the new Turcot Interchange had “completely changed the design and project configuration”, as authorized in 2010 by the Quebec government, and could even lead to amendments to Government Decree , adopted three years before the application of these recommendations.
“This means we redo traffic and impact studies and, probably, a part of the project design,” said yesterday the Ministry spokesperson, Sarah Bensadoun, emphasizing the long time that these studies could result.
“It would have also had to start over the qualifications of bidding process for the main contract of Turcot project. ”
“This process had been ongoing for some months when we received the report” revealed broadly yesterday by Le Journal de Montreal.
According to the paper, the report was produced at the end of 2013 by a consortium of companies MMM, SMi and ARUP, all leaders in their respective fields. Their primary mandate was to produce an estimate of reference costs for the Department, as part of the allocation process of the contract for the project.
The mandate also included a component of “optimization” of the reference project where the consortium recommended that the MTQ to expand six straps of the new interchange.
In the current Turcot six straps now have a single lane. In the new interchange designed by the MTQ, they always have one. The consortium proposed to build two. These arrangements would have been relatively inexpensive, as consultants, and would have helped reduce congestion, improve safety exits and entrances movements of a highway to another and the flow of traffic in the exchanger, which currently run almost 300,000 motorists and truckers every day.
Beyond the delays caused by the necessary studies to validate such a change or change a government decree, the MTQ had at least one more reason not to act on these suggestions: he never had the intention to expand these straps.
From the outset of the project planning reconstruction of the Turcot interchange in 2006, the Ministry of Transport has conducted a series of traffic studies to assess future needs in terms of road infrastructure, to conclude that an increase the capacity of the exchanger was not necessary.
“The 2006 study, says Ms. Bensadoun, determined that there were many traffic delays in the straps of the Turcot interchange. Except that the source of this congestion is not related to the ability of the straps, but with very high flows of traffic, downstream, on the A15, A20 and A720. ”
The initial project of the MTQ, presented in 2009, called for the reconstruction of all the existing interchange ramps and retaining the same number of lanes in each strap.
Despite this status quo cautious in terms of road capacity, the project MTQ still almost unanimous against him during the consultations conducted by the Bureau of public hearings on the environment (BAPE). The cities, Montreal included, and the local population in south-west of the metropolis have harshly criticized the MTQ because it left too little space for transport and that paved the way for significant increases in traffic full residential areas.
In 2010, in its new version of the project, the MTQ claims to have reduced from 15 to 25% of road capacity in the east-west axis of the project including adding bus lanes. This is the version of the project without straps widened road, which was approved by the Quebec government and served as reference scenario in the awarding of project implementation contract.
The contract was finally awarded to the consortium KPH Turcot for $ 1.5 billion in December 2014.