The return of traditional traffic congestion to Montreal after the calm confinement, along with major works, such as the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel, is frustrating to truckers who no longer want to go there.
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“I transported powdered cement. We left Joliette and brought it to our customers on the South Shore. On average, I can spend an hour and even just an hour and a half on this part, ”lamented Olivier Sénéchal, a truck driver for a company in Repentigny, in an interview with Le Journal.
Olivier Senechal. Trucker
He usually makes three trips per day, but in current jobs he only makes two.
“I get paid on time, but I know someone pays for the trip and others don’t want to go to Montreal anymore because they’re losing money. »
“Everyone is wasting too much time,” one of them complained on Truck Stop Québec’s Facebook site.
“I brought the night for that,” added another.
“On average, I miss between 2 and 3 hours a day,” said one trucker.
From another era
When Le Journal appeared on Thursday afternoon, traffic had reached several kilometers, all the way to the Anjou interchange.
“We live here every day,” said Alain Bédard, boss of TFI International, the largest trucking company in the country.
“Certainly the road network, Montreal, is an old network, lacking in funding. We end up with a Metropolitan Boulevard from the 1950s, and a tunnel from the 1960s, and they have to invest significant sums to bring it up. to standard, ”he analyzed.
Waiting times in traffic jams and rising fuel costs have a huge impact on transportation costs.
“We need to raise the customer charge which, in turn, will pass it on to consumers,” he said.
According to Benoît Therrien, of Truck Stop Québec, transportation companies could charge more soon to cover all the time lost in Montreal.
“Companies can charge at least $ 100 more per delivery to cover their overcrowding -related costs of 25. And with work intensifying, the fee is even higher,” he said.
Montreal was wrongly thought of
“Montreal is one of the worst cities in North America to go for delivery. I know some who are very discouraged when they have to go to Saint-Laurent, for example,” Benoît Therrien said.
Alain Bédard is lower in the category, but admits that Montreal is more chaotic than Toronto.
“They made different decisions there, but you have to remember that Montreal is an island, so it’s not easy to get there. It’s like Manhattan, New York, ”he said.
Moreover, according to the ranking of TomTom, a benchmark in the field, Montreal ranks seventh in North America and second among the most congested cities in Canada after Vancouver, but ahead of Toronto, with a population nearly twice as much. important.
In total, by 2021, 65 hours will be lost in traffic on the Montreal network. This number is likely to rise this year with the proliferation of construction sites.
“I don’t dare to think … seriously, it’s going to be hell in that corner,” Olivier Sénéchal said.
Bypass the city
For Benoît Therrien, of Truck Stop Québec, most cities in America have belts of highways that allow trucks to evade downtown areas.
“Also, there are warehouses, outside, so it doesn’t interfere with traffic in major centers, it allows for more fluidity. »
Meanwhile, the situation threatens to further discourage young people from becoming truck drivers.
“When you have a guy who leaves Quebec and goes to Toronto, and gets caught two hours in traffic in Montreal, if he’s paid mileage, it’s far from doing his business”, Alain Bedard explains.
Traffic, the pandemic that put pressure on drivers, changes in mentality … some reasons why the profession is losing pace.
“It is gradually becoming popular as a trade and it is leading to labor shortage in our sector. It’s a bit of a problem, ”Mr. Bédard continued.
The tunnel brothel
Motorists on Autoroute 25 will have to be patient in the coming months, as work will intensify at 25.
In principle, the work should be completed by 2024, but the Ministry of Transport is already reviewing the schedule.
Teams are working on repairing the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel pipeline in a southerly direction and on rebuilding the Highway 25 roadway in both directions.
“Travel time on Highway 25 is 3 to 6 times longer than usual […] depending on the days of the week, times and of course the incidents and damage, ”the ministry confirmed.