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Third highway connection | Why does the Fund say no?

Yes, but it would be very weak. “For motorists on existing bridges, the travel time reduction from Lévis to Quebec would be an average of five minutes,” we immediately read in the report, which describes this improvement as “limited” in the context of the continued increase in the size of the car fleet in Canada. In other words, a user already using the Quebec Bridge or the Pierre-Laporte Bridge would shave just five minutes off their usual trip if a bridge or tunnel were added across the river in the Quebec region.

No, on the contrary. This is where the problem lies: despite these small gains in time and mobility, the addition of a link between the rivers to the east would rather ‘have the effect of relocating the congestion at the head of the existing bridges, rather than ultimately results in no mobility advantage on the road network,” the Fund also states. In fact, his report estimates that traffic congestion could increase on highways 40 and 440, which are already the busiest and would become heavily congested. A “significant increase in congestion” would also be seen across the entire road network in Quebec City, which “requires a major reconfiguration” of several key routes where traffic could eventually decrease.

It is always possible to speculate on this question, but everything indicates that this is not the case, since the analysis of the Caisse de dépôt is accompanied by models obtained from the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility (MTMD). These “show little growth in inter-river traffic flows compared to the situation currently observed”. This is also the opinion of several researchers. In short, contrary to what several observers have claimed in recent months, the Caisse does not believe that traffic congestion will increase in the coming years, especially since “the flow of freight transport during peak periods remains moderate, that is to say less than 5%. % of trips.”

At least not really, not if we trust the Caisse, which has combed six corridors for the possible implementation of the third link stretching 25 kilometers along the St. Lawrence River. We learn in the document that “the flow of vehicles using one or the other corridor studied is relatively low in the northerly direction, that is from Lévis towards Quebec, towards the morning rush hour”. The reduction in congestion of existing bridges as a result of a possible third connection would therefore be “low in the northbound direction and greater in the southbound direction, from Quebec to Lévis, that is to say in the opposite direction of rush hour”.

It would depend on the corridor chosen, but we can already assume that they would be important. For example, for the corridor that goes from one city center to another, “the planned exit from the tunnel in Quebec City takes place in a highly urbanized area, adjacent to the heritage sector of Old Quebec,” notes the Caisse. She specifies in passing that “the entrance to the road tunnel to the territory of Lévis encroaches on protected agricultural land”. The planned corridor east of the bridges risks degrading “important wetlands and natural areas” on the Quebec side and the natural environment on the south coast, the report’s authors added.