Montrealers often say that there are two seasons in their city: winter and road construction.
The comparison has equivalences to traffic. Winter storms make it difficult to circulate on streets and roads in and around Montreal. The same for construction repairs.
During winter, one can always count on the fact that there are no storms every day. In that sense, the inconveniences of road congestions is confined to sporadic hits by mother nature. Similarly, road construction inconveniences are confined by geography instead of time, depending on where the repairs are.
But this summer, Montreal will see little if any reprieve. Repair and reconstruction is everywhere, or so it seems to motorists. In addition to more or less regularly scheduled repairs such as paving and redoing sidewalks, the state of some roads and bridges has reached high levels of deterioration that authorities have deemed urgently dangerous.
Bitterly hit have been commuters on the South Shore. Adding to repairs on the Lafontaine Tunnel and the Champlain Bridge, this past week authorities condemned portions of the Mercier Bridge, reducing circulation to a trickle, citing safety concerns.
Authorities block access to the unsafe Mercier Bridge this week
The Ville Marie Expressway ramps from Decarie South have been reduced to one lane as fractures are repaired all along the Turcot Interchange (Warning: disturbing pictures).
A map and more info about Montreal motorist hell is here.
For an excellent explanation as to how the prolonged neglect of essential infrastructure has brought us to where we are now, click here.
The bridges spanning over the Saint Lawrence Sea Way are federal jurisdiction, in case you are wondering how the whole thing impacts us in the RoC (Rest of Canada). Canadians will have to pay with more than the frustration of local commuter sitting on a hot vehicle waiting for traffic to move. Wait until we see the bill.
Turning to the Parti Quebecois and its troubles, they may not be fixable.