Moving Highway 20: Expensive and unnecessary

The MTQ has decided to rebuild a large section of highway 20, an "extra" which is entirely separate from the replacement of the Turcot Interchange itself.

This will add at least 400M$ to the total cost of the Turcot project. This expensive and unnecessary addition involves moving the A-20 and the CN rail north, right onto the unstable soils of the Falaise St-Jacques wetland in order to open up the southern portion of the Turcot Yards for developement. The portion of the Turcot Yards along the Falaise St-Jacques is the site of a waterway, the Riviere St-Pierre, and would be very costly to stabilise.

The MTQ and the City of Montreal have suggested this might be the location of a green neighbourhood called the ‘Quartier du canal’ approximately 13 kms long and 2 kms wide, bordered by a highway to the north and active industry to the south. However, urban planning experts have suggested that the area’s shape and environment—dominated by the highway A-20 and existing industry— are unsuited for residential development. Most likely, this new 'quartier' will be only be suitable for light industries.

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Turcot Yards: an improbable neighbourhood

Stabilizing the marshy soil in this area and moving the highway and train tracks will cost at least 400 000 000$ ; moving the tracks alone will cost 150 000 000$ M or more. In order for the public to recuperate these expenses ,the land would need to sell for at least 1 000$/m2. However, as anyone who has sold a house well knows, a property is only worth what it can sell for. Comparable industrial land along Notre-Dame sells for around 200$/m2.

If the MTQ managed to successfully sell all of the new land opened by moving the highway at current market rates, they would only make 80 000 000$ M. This means that taxpayers will have spent over 300 000 000$ M to see the Turcot Yards (and an historic wetland) developed into an industrial park.

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The future site of a 'Quartier du Canal'?