A Major Sinkhole On Montreal's Avenue Papineau Forced Crews To Close Part Of The Street

The City advises taking another route to the Jacques Cartier Bridge this week.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
A 9-square-metre sinkhole in Papineau Avenue between Sherbrooke and Ontario.

A 9-square-metre sinkhole in Papineau Avenue between Sherbrooke and Ontario.

If you're heading to the South Shore from Montreal this week, the Jacques Cartier Bridge may not be your best option.

Part of avenue Papineau that leads to the bridge, between Ontario and Sherbrooke, has been blocked off since the discovery of a sinkhole on Monday morning. While repairs began soon after, it's unlikely that the street will reopen until later this week.

A deep cavity in the asphalt reported to the city by a passerby revealed serious erosion under the road. Emergency workers who excavated the area found a water leak in the connection between a private pipe and the sewer system.

"We don't know what caused the break, but when you have a water leak 12 feet underground it erodes the surrounding soil," said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.

"We've assured the sewer system is intact... [so] we can reconnect the pipes, fill the hole, and cover it with asphalt."

He said the process has been delayed by the presence of an aqueduct near the site.

While the Jacques Cartier Bridge is still accessible, the temporary loss of Papineau in the busy commuter area has slowed traffic.

The route to the bridge via northbound Papineau remains unblocked. But those heading south are being detoured via d'Iberville.

"We're working with Montreal police to keep the intersections clear and ease the traffic," said Sabourin.

"We're trying to be as efficient as we can to reopen Papineau. Hopefully, it will be completed Wednesday afternoon."

But some of the workers on-site Tuesday afternoon said they weren't sure that new asphalt could be poured before the end of the week.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.