Elections Quebec 2022 | Stroll to Both Ends of the Third Link Project

The third link has caused a river of ink to flow since the start of the election campaign because of the government’s refusal to make public the studies on it. What do the people directly affected by its construction think? The duty interviewed citizens at both ends of the future tunnel.

It is near Lairet, a district of Quebec located at the crossroads of Vanier, Charlesbourg and Limoilou, that the third link projected by the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) should emerge north of the Saint-Laurent. This sector is not rolling on gold: in 2016, the community was made up of 81% tenants, one in ten inhabitants came from immigration, and half of the households earned a gross income of less than $40,000.

« I didn’t follow the campaign too much, I just got out of prison, » says a man with a face tattooed with scorpions when asked by The duty at the corner of rue des Cèdres and avenue Dumas. A couple approaches. “The third link? We landed from Colombia a month and a half ago, ”says the woman, hesitant, in still approximate French. It’s 13 degrees Celsius and their winter coat proves it: getting acclimated to Quebec’s weather seems to take priority over mobility issues in the nation’s capital.

At the exit of the Grand Marché, Lise Lavoie, 73, stops to chat with the journalist from To have to. “Me, as long as the bridges are renovated…” launches the retiree from the Ministry of the Environment. A third link, she said, would not change her travel habits. “I can understand, however, why people on the South Shore want one. According to her, Quebec has a choice to make between the tramway and the tunnel. “Do we really need both? I am not convinced. »

For Jérôme Cordeau, a 38-year-old resident of Lairet encountered during a bike ride, the CAQ is waving the third link like a rattle in the face of the electorate. “It’s like a carrot to get people to vote for the party. In my opinion, this will not solve the congestion. To whom does he intend to give his vote? » I dunno ! he says, walking away.

Lairet is in the riding of Jean-Lesage. And in the neighborhood, it is the face of the outgoing solidarity deputy, Sol Zanetti, who most often appears at the windows. The notorious opponent of the third link must warmly defend his seat in front of the caquiste Christiane Gamache, defeated by only 699 votes in 2018. The CAQ declined our request for an interview with its candidate, believing that « everything has been said on the third link « .

« I don’t see any advantage for the neighborhood in this project, » said Mr. Zanetti about the CAQ tunnel. “That represents tens of thousands more vehicles in the neighborhood during rush hour. It’s absurd, and it’s sure to degrade the air quality of the lower town. »

The tunnel would appear in an area of ​​Quebec already bordered by two highways, the 40 and the 973. It is one of the places in Canada where the air is the most polluted. “We are adding roads, asphalt, cars,” laments Alexandre Gagnon, who arrived in Lairet a year ago. “It is extremely violent towards these populations. »

For the 25-year-old student, the CAQ is showing “extreme populism” by going ahead with the third link despite the unfavorable opinions expressed by almost all urban planning and environmental experts. “It’s very hay wire, it’s very model, what we are offered. It looks like it’s done on the corner of the table, ”he castigates. “Do people still believe in it? »

On the other side of the tunnel

In Lévis and Bellechasse, faith in the third link remains intact. Almost everyone has a congestion story to tell.

« I’ve already been stuck for hours on the Pierre-Laporte bridge, » says Bernard Nadeau, a former truck driver from Saint-Henri who sips a coffee while brooding over memories. “What I was transporting was live poultry. When I was stuck in the heat for two, three hours… Sometimes we lost chickens. »

Audrey Labadie, 19, commutes between the Lévis neighborhood of Pintendre, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, and the Notre-Dame-de-Foy campus, west of Quebec. It often takes an hour to cover this course of about thirty kilometers. “It costs me almost $80 in gas a week, I study in a private school, so I don’t have a lot of income,” explains the student. “With the third link, it would definitely be easier. »

« It takes one, it’s mandatory! » adds Raymonde Jean, a resident of Pintendre who often takes the bridges to get to work. “It doesn’t matter what time I start, it’s ‘jammed’,” she points out. So, if we had another possibility, or if people coming from the east could head for Quebec before the bridges… That would be better. »

The Ministère des Transports estimates that the current waiting time on the Pierre-Laporte bridge is 20 minutes on average, a duration which will reach 28 minutes in 2040. This bridge, initially designed to accommodate 90,000 vehicles per day, in sees 126,000 cross it daily.

South of the river, there is little doubt about the need for a third link, but the government’s lack of data is beginning to disturb. “It’s funny, his business, because he doesn’t want to reveal much,” laments Mr. Nadeau between two sips of hot coffee.

“I find it a little weird that nothing came out. I give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Ms.me Jeans. A referendum on the third link would make « good sense », she said. “It might be cheaper than all the studies commissioned from engineers, which cost us a fortune and which we never see in the end. “Despite the absence of studies, his “X” will go to his deputy, the caquiste Stéphanie Lachance.

Audrey Labadie, she intends to vote in solidarity « for the moment », even if she opposes the tramway and favors the third link. “Legault had said that there would be a first sod before the end of his mandate, but until now, the studies have not yet begun. On that, he loses a lot of points, ”says the student from Lévis. Since then, Radio-Canada has reported on the existence of a study to assess the relevance of a third link between downtown Quebec and Lévis. François Legault maintains that the latter needs an update to take into account teleworking.

The CAQ had sworn that the construction of the future tunnel would begin before the end of its first mandate. A few days before the vote, the only machinery working in Lévis is carrying out widening work on Autoroute 20 planned before the CAQ came to power. The party insists: this is a preparatory site for the third link.

« I can’t wait for this first sod to come out, because the elections are coming up and it hasn’t been done yet, » says Yvon Dumont, prefect of the MRC de Bellechasse and ardent defender of the third link. In his view, to claim otherwise is to “diminish people’s intelligence”.

« People are not cellars: we are no longer in Séraphin’s time », he underlines. He continues to believe that the third link will come into being no matter who forms the next government. “Whether it’s a bridge or a tunnel, I have no problem with that. I think the CAQ will do it. […] If it’s not the CAQ, it will be someone else,” adds Mr. Dumont.

On the terrace of Lévis, in front of a breathtaking view of the Château Frontenac and Old Quebec, Bernard Gosselin decided. « I would see it at the end of Île d’Orléans, the tunnel, » says the 78-year-old man, proud to recall that he worked on the construction of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel, in the 1960s. Will the third link determine his choice on October 3? “Pantoute! All the gangthey [les politiciens] think only of their pockets. I always thought the same! »

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