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Montreal's La Fontaine Tunnel Could Close To Solo Drivers If A New Proposal Goes Ahead

Would you be up for carpooling?

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Cars and a truck enter the La Fontaine Tunnel.

Cars and a truck enter the La Fontaine Tunnel.

Montrealers just can't seem to win when it comes to getting to and from the South Shore. First, there's the three-year partial La Fontaine Tunnel closure beginning October 31 (a scary prospect, indeed), and then the REM postponed its opening date until next year, meaning many people will have to keep relying on their cars.

Traffic along the route through the tunnel is going to get bad, there are no two ways (and barely two lanes) about it. Now, some city officials are proposing a ban on solo drivers in the tunnel while construction is underway. The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) called for the "difficult solution" on Wednesday as a way to reduce congestion.

"We must limit access [to the tunnel] during peak hours: only carpooling, public transport and trucks," CCMM head Michel Leblanc wrote on Twitter. "No solo drivers during that time."

While many were quick to agree on the thread, one city councillor warned that widespread carpooling isn't a viable option.

"I agree with you that solo driving is problematic, but carpooling unfortunately has very limited potential. Other solutions will be required," wrote Sylvain Ouellet, who represents François Perrault district in Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension. He cited a recent Radio-Canada report on the difficulty faced by workers in small and medium businesses in finding a carpool co-worker who lives nearby.

"Many people have to go to work in person and have no option for public transit or carpooling, especially those who go to industrial sectors that are not easy to access. Proposed solutions should be achievable and non-punitive," agreed one commenter.

"What about health care workers who don't know if they will have mandatory overtime?" asked another.

Others Twitter users called for a reduction in trucks that "cause the most traffic" as the best way to mitigate the upcoming congestion nightmare. The Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine will only have two lanes open in the direction of Montreal through November 2025.

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