Motorists have found an option to avoid the chaos caused by months of La Fontaine bridge-tunnel repair work east of Montreal: the Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola/Sorrel-Tracy crossing, starting in one hour!
Indeed, there are many of them, so much so that the new Saint-Ignace River station, very close to Berthierville, is overwhelmed these days, despite the recent addition of 80 spaces for vehicles waiting to take the ferry to Sorel-Tracy. South bank of the river.
“Last weekend, the shoulder up to the church was packed with motorists [à un kilomètre de là] To go by boat, we have two years in this situation because of the tunnel work,” explained Jean-Luc Barthe, mayor of Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola, in a telephone interview.
“And instead of waiting to take the Jacques-Cartier bridge or some other bridge, they come here to go to the other side to take the 30, which is faster for them,” the mayor said.
We went to the Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola river station on Thursday and spoke to several motorists who confirmed this situation.
“I recently went through the La Fontaine tunnel and I don’t want to go there again, I want to avoid the chaos of Montreal,” Diane Assant, who is coming from Terrebonne to the south coast, told us.
“I’d rather detour and pay $16 for my ticket,” Sylvain Pilon told us, giving up regrets to deliver sausages to Sorel and taking the bridge-tunnel, a faster-than-usual route. I’d only taken the ferry once or twice before.
A woman and her two children also came from Esterel in Lawrence. “It’s much more pleasant to come and see the river on a boat than to be stuck in traffic,” Sophie Bélanger told us.
The new Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola river station, opened at the end of June in the presence of Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel, now offers seven access routes with two vessels (and one in reserve). Mayor Barthe told us that 115 vehicles can be parked in the waiting area now, while the old station only had two tracks that could accommodate 30-35 cars in the queue.
“Both crossing stations are new [NDLR: la nouvelle gare de Sorel-Tracy a été inaugurée en août 2019] And we are working a lot on the customer experience to encourage people to use this alternative,” said Simon Laboissonniere, communications manager at the Société des traversières du Québec (STQ), which confirmed the impact of the tunnel work on increased traffic. Crossing.
Mayor Barthe also defended the free service.
“We’ve wanted free entry for years, Mr. Barthe said. The crossing between Sorrel-Tracy and Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola is the second busiest in Quebec after Tadoussac. If it’s free, it will become the busiest.