Three huge holes along Highway 20 forced the closure of expressways near Drummondville, forcing motorists to take a six-mile detour in the community indefinitely.
• Also read: Taking the Quebec Bridge by storm
• Also read: Travelers without Covid tests: American Airlines demands Transport Canada fine
• Also read: Duclos sticks to the 3rd link: Ottawa does not finance “new highways”
“It’s called chimneys, localized subsidence […] caused by pipeline work in the area,” explains Roxanne Pellerin, spokeswoman for the Ministère des Transports (MTQ).
The first of these holes, which appears to be about two meters in diameter, according to images obtained from that protocolis located on the median of this neuralgic connection between Quebec and Montreal.
The other two are located on either side of the street on the shoulder of Boulevard Foucault in this Centre-du-Québec community.
According to Dominic Villeneuve, spokesman for the city of Drummondville, the La Ferme des Voltigeurs poultry farm is at the origin of this work. She was busy with an expansion project that required greater water flow in the area.
tip of the iceberg
MTQ was briefed on the situation late Saturday morning and completely closed that section of Highway 20 in both directions. A team of geotechnical engineers went on site to analyze the situation.
“Closing the road was clearly the right thing to do. A van could have passed and the floor could have collapsed under its weight,” says Marc-André Martin, President of the Association of Government Engineers (APIGQ).
It’s not uncommon for visible holes to be just the tip of the iceberg, he points out. These chimneys are often conical in shape, where the collapsed base is much wider.
“Usually this happens because of over excavation or not enough depth when drilling, which creates soil drainage,” explains the man, who recalls the importance of government engineers when it comes to solving these types of problems.
A painful detour
Drivers will have to be patient until the recommendations have been sent and any work done. Already yesterday afternoon, the caps extended over a length of six kilometers on the motorway.
A long detour of about ten kilometers has been set up via exit 181, rue Montplaisir, route 122 and route 143, via the only other bridge that crosses the Saint-François river.
All traffic that normally terminates on the Trans-Canada Highway is therefore required to transit through the community indefinitely.
“We are urging the people of Drummondville to exercise extra caution and avoid the area. What is certain is that there will be a monster traffic jam in the next few days, ”estimates Dominic Villeneuve.