Street closure prompts emergency scenario queries at Vaudreuil-Dorion council meeting
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO
Without an exit onto the des Chenaux Bridge, the infrastructure roadwork on Chemin Dumberry has further complicated the alternate traffic routes thereby extending residents’ daily commutes.
A temporary closure three weeks ago of Rue Dumberry in Vaudreuil-Dorion for about one hour due to unexpected road work prompted a resident who lives on Rue des Chenaux north of Highway 40 to ask city council how would residents would be evacuated if there was a serious emergency situation in the district.
Luis Martinez voiced his concern about the incident during the first question period at the Monday evening council meeting on March 18, saying he was troubled by the unexpected closure because Dumberry has become the only access road into and out the residential area that intersects with des Chenaux in the north.
According to Mayor Guy Pilon, the closure was caused by a contractor who closed the street to lay an underground pipe. The contractor was fined $5,000.
Morning commute more difficult
Residents used to have the option of crossing over Highway 40 north and heading south on the des Chenaux Bridge but structural concerns forced the provincial government to close the bridge in late summer 2018. The closure means Dumberry has become the only road into and out of the Wildwood district north of Highway 40.
For Martinez who works in Montreal, it means his morning commute has become more difficult. “Each day I have to go on Dumberry to Avenue St. Charles and cross the overpass to get onto Highway 40 East,” Martinez told The Journal after the meeting.
40 minute detour
The detour along Dumberry, St. Charles, and the Highway 40 East access road adds more than five kilometres to his daily commute. “Since Costco and the different companies have been built, the traffic there is enormous. It takes me 40 minutes to get St. Charles and back to my house along Highway 40 during rush hour,” said Martinez.
“It is what it is. It’s not possible to cross the des Chenaux bridge and get onto Highway 40 like I used to. I just don’t know what’s taking so long to fix the bridge. It’s frustrating but what can we do?” Martinez asked.
Entire routine affected
It isn’t only his regular weekday morning commute that has been affected. His entire routine has been modified as a result of the bridge closure. “I used to cross the overpass to get into Vaudreuil-Dorion, take the service road where the car dealers are to do my shopping and go to the bank in the area,” said Martinez.
“Now I have to go along Dumberry and pass Costco. Costco generates a lot of traffic on Saturdays, Sundays, Friday afternoon, pretty much every day. ,” Martinez added.
Emergency plans ready
Mayor Pilon said the city is looking at other options including diverting traffic onto the adjacent bike path or having vehicles detour via the parking lots in the industrial zone if a similar situation occurs in the future. But Martinez isn’t sure if emergency vehicles would be able to properly navigate the bike path.
Martinez worries about what could happen if there’s a chemical leak in one of the industrial buildings. “What happens if they have to close the road? What happens to the residents? How do we get out? There’s no other way out except for Dumberry,” he said.
The mayor reassured him that the city will be able to effectively deal with any type of urgent situation. “You can be sure if there’s a real emergency, the city’s emergency services will make sure people will be able to get into and out of your sector,” said Pilon. In the interim, the city plans to repave the entire stretch of Dumberry to improve the condition of the road.
Frustration with bridge replacement time frame
Pilon also expressed disappointment and frustration with the provincial government’s three year plan to rebuild the des Chenaux Bridge.
“They told us they shortened the process and this is the fastest they can do it. I’m not happy about this. It’ll take three years. Come on. They built the Champlain Bridge in less time than that. It’s the way the government works. I don’t know what can be done. It’s amazing that in 2019 they can’t rebuild a little bridge like this in less than a year,” said Pilon.
In the interim, Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols has launched a petition at the Quebec National Assembly demanding the Ministry of Transport add the des Chenaux overpass repairs to its list of infrastructure projects over the next two years.
Residents can sign the petition by going to this link.