• John Jantak

Ste. Anne’s council votes to prohibit left turns onto Highway 20 west


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

In three weeks, the already congested afternoon westbound commute for off-island residents could be further complicated by the recent decision of Ste. Anne de Bellevue mayor and council to forbid left-hand turns onto the Galipeault Bridge between 4 and 6 p.m., effective September 17.

Ste. Anne de Bellevue council unanimously adopted a resolution at the Monday evening council meeting on August 21 to proceed with its proposal to prohibit drivers from making left turns towards the onramp for Highway 20 West from Saint-Pierre Street northbound under the Galipeault Bridge.

Mayor Paola Hawa and the five councillors present at the session voted in favour of the resolution. District 5 Councillor Yvan Labelle was absent. The new traffic configuration will take effect on September 17 and prohibit left-hand turns from Monday to Friday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Signage will be installed at the intersection within the next four weeks advising motorists of the upcoming change.

Motorists who would normally make the left-hand turn will instead be directed to the eastbound entrance of Highway 20 just before the Galipeault Bridge. They will be able to connect to Highway 20 west by taking the Morgan Road North underpass at Exit 42. Buses and emergency vehicles will be exempted from the left turn restriction.

Public safety issue

The new configuration is intended to drastically reduce the amount of congestion that occurs in the area near the village in the south sector during the peak afternoon rush hour period. Hawa said the city had no alternative and is acting in the best interests of its residents by giving emergency responders unimpeded access when responding to calls.

“This large influx of automobiles limits the capacity of emergency vehicles to move along the small streets of the village and increases response time in the event of fires, accidents or other situations that requires rapid intervention,” said Hawa. “The safety of our citizens remains our first priority and leaves no room for compromise.”

Road infrastructure shortfall

The traffic increase is partially the result of an unprecedented population surge in the off-island Vaudreuil-Soulanges region. Figures compiled by the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges show that the population increased 16.8 per cent between 2006 and 2015.

Large-scale development in many municipalities including Île-Perrot, Saint-Lazare and Vaudreuil-Dorion has also increased the number of vehicles on the road but the required infrastructure upgrades to handle the additional traffic has not kept pace which is why Ste. Anne’s is now dealing with serious traffic issues, said Hawa.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

With the exception of buses and emergency vehicles, afternoon left turns onto the Highway 20 West onramp from Saint-Pierre Street under the Galipeault Bridge in Ste. Anne’s will be illegal as of September 17 weekdays between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Highway 20 expansion delays

Off-island mayors have been waiting several decades for the provincial government to proceed with the long-awaited expansion of Highway 20 to make it a full-fledged autoroute only to be told recently that it could be at least another 10 years before any work begins.

“We are convinced that our traffic congestion issues are only a symptom of a much larger problem that affects the entire region. The real permanent solution lies within the responsibility, jurisdiction and authority of the provincial government. We invite all parties involved to work together to resolve the mobility issues on Highway 20 once and for all,” said Hawa.

Baie D’Urfé concerns

The neighbouring municipality of Baie D’Urfé issued a press release on its website on Tuesday saying it is concerned there could be an influx of traffic into their community from motorists who may decide to take Lakeshore Road East and head north along Morgan Boulevard to reach Highway 20 West.

“This inflow of vehicles was not anticipated as no prior discussion was held with the representatives of the Town of Baie-D’Urfé,” the press release stated. “We will remain vigilant and monitor the situation carefully. If this decision made by the SADB council results in a new congestion on the Morgan and Lakeshore intersection, Baie-D’Urfé town council will take all the necessary measures to prevent this transit.”

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