New Turcot Interchange paves way for possible green space

The Quebec government recently announced plans to demolish and rebuild the Turcot Interchange at ground level. The upcoming renovations pushed one eco-friendly group, the Otter Lake Society, to put forward a plan to construct a large park with a lake right next to the old interchange, running along the Falaise St. Jacques.
The new Turcot project was initially intended to address crumbling infrastructure, after an overpass collapsed last year killing five people. On June 29th, Minister Boulet announced that the Turcot Interchange would be replaced by 2009 at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion.
Allen F. Mackenzie, Jean Fortier and Jacques Beique, founders of the Otter Lake Society, are suggesting a green makeover of the derelict area next to the interchange in conjunction with the planned renovations. “We noticed that there is a natural green area that is regenerating itself, right in the Falaise St. Jacques,” said Mackenzie. “A lake that fed off the St. Lawrence overflow used to exist in this area 200 years ago. The park we would like to build would recreate this lake.” The new lake would feed off the Lachine Canal.
They believe this is a great opportunity to improve the neglected surrounding area as well – starting with the rail yard running alongside the freeway. “There is an area full of Canadian National (CN) railway containers and a highway right next to the Lachine Canal, which is a national park. It’s a disgrace,” said Mackenzie.
Fortier said they will also demand that CN reduce the number of train tracks to two. “They have dozens of tracks even though now they are only using two lanes. With the construction of the new Turcot [interchange], they will have to run on two tracks for two years at least,” said Fortier.
He also said that if CN has more tracks the landscape will once again resemble a train yard. “Trains are dusty, noisy and they represent a danger to the population,” said Fortier, “We should use this opportunity to get the trains out of the island and move them further West.”
In order to have a large park, adjustments would have to be made to the freeway to make room. “We need more green, eco-friendly, spaces in Montreal. Montreal is one of the most industrialized cities in North America and we want to increase green space,” Mackenzie said.
Moreover, their plans include putting a cap on noise pollution as well. “We proposed to the ministry of transport to move Highway 20 next to the cliff, since the falaise creates a natural noise barrier,” said Mackenzie. Val


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