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Dreaming in Technicolor: Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC is “… confident CP will eventually make use of …” the Les Cèdres site as an Intermodal Container Terminal.

December 23, 2012

From:  Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette, Wed. Dec. 19, 2012:

HIGHWAY 30: CP losing intermodal market to CSX

VAUDREUIL-SOULANGES — Canadian Pacific hasn’t officially killed plans for a 311-hectare intermodal terminal on the St. Lazare/Les Cèdres border, but CEO Hunter Harrison’s comments earlier this month have placed it on life support.

Meanwhile, the opening of Highway 30 between Vaudreuil-Dorion and Chateauguay puts Florida-based CSX in a position to bite off a chunk of CP’s traffic with its Valleyfield intermodal terminal and direct connections to the 20 and the 40.

HIGHWAY 30: Politicians and promoters gather to celebrate

The region’s first real snowstorm of the season greeted Monday’s official inauguration of the Highway 30 corridor connecting Montreal and the Montérégie region. Less than 48 hours before, the 42-kilometre stretch was opened to the public after being under construction for two and a half years.


Politicians and promoters gather to celebrate Highway 30

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities of Canada Denis Lebel, Minister responsible for the Montérégie region Marie Malavoy and Quebec Minister of Transport and Municipal Affairs Sylvain Gaudreault perform the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony at Monday’s official inauguration of Highway 30. (Gazette, Meghan Low)


The region’s first real snowstorm of the season greeted Monday’s official inauguration of the Highway 30 corridor connecting Montreal and the Montérégie region. Less than 48 hours before, the 42-kilometre stretch was opened to the public after being under construction for two and a half years.

Representing the federal government was Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities of Canada Denis Lebel, who handed full credit to the province.
“It’s a provincial matter, provincial jurisdiction, they decided it’s an important issue for them, they prioritized it, we were a partner of this true building Canada plan,” Lebel said.

When the Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette asked Lebel how much Quebeckers know about the support the federal government gave Highway 30, he responded,”That’s our job to to tell Quebec’s population how we work with the infrastructure plan when we are launching a new one. That’s your job and ours to tell [Quebeckers] that Canada invested over $700 million in this project and now that’s very well done and we are proud of it.”

Denis Léonard, CEO of La Nouvelle Autoroute 30 s.e.n.c, said thousands of vehicles went through the toll this weekend. Any lineups were due to the fact the concept of tolls is new to many on both sides of the collection windows.

“People [paying with credit cards] have to understand that they need to use the automated credit card line. They all go to the toll booths with the operators, which is fine because my operators were so happy, there was a nice exchange between people, but there is an automatic system if they want more fluid traffic.”
Léonard says his staff was enthusiastic on the first weekend.

“Everybody was excited to see the first drivers coming through and the people were excited to pass and say hello, wave, everyone was happy to have this opening.”
Highway 30 certainly provides commuters with another route to choose from, but some local politicians such as Vaudreuil-Dorion Guy Pilon contend that without the arrival of new industries along the 30, it won’t have much of an effect on the local economy.

Robert Sauvé, prefect for Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC, says the MRC is working on an integrated sustainable development plan for the region to present to the government. Sauvé is optimistic that the province will get on board and support new development along the highway.

“Our chances are excellent when people understand the returns and the services this will bring for both agriculture producers and businesses, I think it will be win-win.”

As for his take on Canadian Pacific’s plans for the intermodel terminus in Les Cèdres, Sauvé has no worries.

“I think this file will develop, the news from last week did not specify that the project in Les Cèdres is over, CP is currently restructuring, they didn’t say it was over.”
As for a backup plan, Sauvé told the Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette there isn’t one. He’s confident CP will eventually make use of the land.
Les Cèdres mayor Géraldine Quesnel was another happy politician at the inauguration.

“[Highway 30] will allow us to develop our industrial land quickly. Our residential development has been expanding greatly over the past four years. As an example, 250 [homes have been] constructed since 2010. We even have people working on the South Shore who bought here two years ago in anticipation of the 30.”


Highway 30 changes everything

Lineups at the toll plaza sometimes topped 10 minutes Saturday, the first full day of operations on the new Highway 30. While some just wanted to try it, most of the traffic was be


VAUDREUIL-DORION — It took me an hour’s drive on the new Highway 30 to realize it changes everything.

The new link opened at 1 p.m. this past Saturday and by the end of the first day, 15,000 vehicles had passed through the toll plaza at $1.50 a pop for cars and light trucks, $1.15 an axle for any vehicle towing a trailer.

Whether you’re being rushed to hospital in Valleyfield or Chateauguay, commuting to a job or headed to a cottage in the Townships, a boat on Lake Champlain or a ski weekend in Vermont or the Adirondacks, Highway 30 will save you time. I estimate 15 minutes to Valleyfield and 20 minutes to Chateauguay, but if you’re stuck on the Monsignor Langlois, Mercier or Champlain, the rush-hour savings could be huge.

I started out in Hudson at around 3 p.m. Saturday and headed for Vaudreuil on the 40. I got off at the first exit past the weigh scales, leading to the Flying J and the top of blvd. de la Gare. The first difference you’ll notice is that the sign at that exit now reads ‘Sorel-Tracy.’ and it’s no longer the 540, but the 30. This is where it officially begins.

Three kilometres further along, you come to the 30-20 split. The right hand lanes take you to Highway 20, where you’ll have the choice of heading east into Dorion or west toward Ontario. The 30 takes you to the left and there’s plenty of warning of the toll ahead.

Even if you somehow get turned around, there’s still another exit before the toll that takes you to Highway 344 along the Soulanges Canal. The signs give you plenty of notice.
Then the new 30 passes under the canal before emerging at the toll plaza. I wasn’t prepared for the wall of traffic, the first toll-booth traffic jam I’ve seen since René Lévesque’s government got rid of the tolls 30 years ago.

Once you’ve paid, you cross the St. Lawrence via a low-level bridge just downstream of Hydro-Quebec’s venerable des Cèdres power dam before you reach the intersection with Highway 530 to Valleyfield, seven kilometres to the west.

The 30 continues south through farmland before starting its 150-foot climb over the St. Lawrence Seaway’s Beauharnois Ship Canal and turning east toward Chateauguay and a choice of highways to the Townships, the U.S. and the South Shore bridges as far as Sorel-Tracy.

Heading back in the dark, I found the signage much more confusing. I can foresee problems for drivers that don’t know the 20 and 40 both lead to Montreal. But Quebec has never mastered the concept of ensuring signs make sense for non-francophones, so I don’t suppose it really matters. (For the record, Maine, Vermont, New York, Ontario and New Brunswick all acknowledge that unilingual francophones might be using their highways.)

Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor Guy Pilon predicts the immediate impact of the 30 on his city will be more traffic on Harwood Blvd, Quebec’s last remaining example of a major highway becoming an urban boulevard.

After decades of stalling, the former Liberal government promised to turn Highway 20 into a controlled-access highway from Ste. Anne de Bellevue to the Vaudreuil-Dorion city limits to the south. It would include a bypass between the bridge between Pincourt and Vaudreuil-Dorion and where Highway 342 splits with the 20.

But who knows where that project is with the new PQ government, especially in a riding that has voted Liberal for generations? In the meantime, Harwood becomes a serious chokepoint for through traffic that doesn’t know there’s an alternative.

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