Photograph by: Allen McInnis, Montreal GazetteAs protesters chanted "Turcot, pas d'autos!," more than 300 southwest borough residents packed a St. Henri community centre Monday night to express opposition to and doubts about Quebec's $3 billion plan to rebuild the crumbling Turcot Interchange.
A standing-room crowd listened politely as Quebec Transport Department officials outlined plans to demolish the existing structure in stages, with enforceable limits on noise and air pollution, to create 300,000 square meters of green space, a new 55-hectare residential area and transform Notre Dame St. W. into an urban boulevard.
Eight anti-noise barriers are to be erected and during construction, limits will be imposed on daytime, evening and overnight noise, with heavy fines for ignoring them.
The project, approved by Quebec last fall, was endorsed by Mayor Gérald Tremblay and his Union Montreal majority, over opposition objections.
Turcot is the system of elevated roadways where highways 15 and 20 and the Ville Marie Expressway converge.
Replacing it will require the demolition of 106 units at 780 St. Rémi St. and two buildings with eight units on Selby St., dislocating about 130 residents.
That detail was met by a chorus of boos.
Since the daily volume of vehicles that use the new structure is expected to rise to 304,000 from about 290,000, Daniel Breton said this means "the death of Quebec's goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020."
"There has to be a radical change in the transportation modes used by Quebecers," he said, to sustained applause.
Though there are plans to increase bus routes serving the area, critics last night said the project is missing a light-train aspect.
Derek Robertson, a construction project manager, said the overall concept was not designed for the 21st century.
"Why are we not getting a train to the west up and running prior to the demolition and construction as a mitigation process (for the current traffic volume?" Robertson asked.There was no direct answer.
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