Autoroute (Quebec)

From Academic Kids

Autoroute is a French word meaning, literally, a motor road, and corresponding to the words "motorway" or "freeway" in English. It is the name used in the francophone world for highways constructed exclusively for motor traffic.


Overview: Autoroutes of Quebec

The Autoroute system in the province of Quebec, Canada, is a network of freeways which operate under the same principle of controlled-access as the Interstate freeway system in the United States or the 400-Series Highways in neighbouring Ontario. The Autoroutes are the backbone of Quebec's highway system, which spans more than 20,000 km of roads. The speed limit on Quebec's Autoroutes is generally 100 km/h (65 mph) in rural areas and 70-90 km/h (45-55 mph) in urban areas.

Numbering system

Autoroutes are identified by blue and red shields, with the red header image representing a highway overpass. Quebec's Autoroutes are numbered from 1-99 in the case of principal routes, and from 400-999 in the case of collector routes or deviation routes designed such that truck traffic can by-pass urban areas. In the case of deviation routes, the hundreds prefix is even-numbered (e.g., 400, 600), whereas collector routes have odd-numbered prefixes (e.g., 500, 700, 900). For example, A-40 is an Autoroute, the A-640 is a deviation route, and the A-740 is a collector route linking the A-40 to other Autoroutes.

Odd-numbered Autoroutes (e.g., A-15) generally run perpendicular to the Saint Lawrence River, while the even-numbered ones (e.g., A-20, A-40) generally run parallel to it. In addition, each Autoroute has a unique name in addition to its numerical designation and it is commonplace for Autoroutes to be identified using either method (e.g., the Décarie, the 15).

Autoroute 15 Northbound, near Brossard
Autoroute 15 Northbound, near Brossard

History of Quebec's Autoroutes

Image:a-15.png Image:a-20.png Image:a-40.png
Examples of Autoroute marker shields.

Quebec's first Autoroute was the Autoroute des Laurentides (or Laurentian Autoroute), which opened in 1959 as a toll road. This initative to bring freeways into Quebec was started by Maurice Duplessis, whose government saw the construction of the Laurentian Autoroute (now A-15) from Montréal to Saint-Jérôme and the first section of the Boulevard Métropolitain (A-40), which opened in 1960.

It was the Quebec Liberal government of the 1960s that saw the construction of further Autoroutes, with a grid numbering system and the introduction of the blue and red shield. The sign is inspired by the American Interstate sign. This was especially needed in light of the fact that many visitors would be flocking to Montréal by car for Expo 67. Montréal's Décarie Autoroute (A-15) and the Louis-Hippolyte-Lafontaine Tunnel were constructed for that very reason. The Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est (A-10, Eastern Townships Autoroute) opened in 1964, and its continuation, A-55 between Magog and Rock Island, opened in 1967, connecting with Interstate 91. What are now the A-20 (part of the Trans-Canada Highway) and the A-15 to New York (connecting with I-87), originally built in the 40's, were upgraded to expressway standards. The A-20 also connects with Ontario Highway 401. A-40 was extended out to Berthierville, and later to Trois-Rivières in the 1970s. Others include autoroutes 25, 30 (proposed southern beltway), 31, 35 (eventually connecting to I-89), and 640 (an unfinished proposed northern beltway), creating a web around Montréal. And increasing urban sprawl...

The 1970s also saw the completion of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge in Québec City, connecting the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River to the north. In addition to this, the A-73 was extended to Beauce, the A-20 was extended to Rivière-du-Loup, and the Chomedey Autoroute (A-13), the A-19 and the A-440 were constructed in Laval. Autoroutes were built (two sections of A-440, and A-740) and a few more planned in the in the Québec City region, creating a dense web, which led to significant sprawl . During the 1970s, the Parti Québécois came to power, whose platform mandated an expansion of public transportation over the construction of more Autoroutes. Existing Autoroutes were extended (e.g., the A-40 was extended from Trois-Rivières to Quebec City) but no new Autoroutes were built.

The Autoroute des Laurentides (A-15, Laurentian Autoroute), the Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est (A-10, Eastern Townships Autoroute), the Autoroute de la Rive-Nord (A-40, North Shore Autoroute) and the A-13 were toll roads until the mid-1980s, when the toll barriers were removed and the province stopped collecting tolls from vehicles using the Autoroutes. The last toll booth was on the Champlain Bridge (A-10-15-20). It was removed later because the Champlain Bridge is federal property (see "Société des Ponts Jacques-Cartier et Champlain") and was thus not a provincial decision.

List of Autoroutes in Quebec

Autoroute 5

  • Name: Autoroute de la Gatineau
    • Description: From the Pont Cartier-MacDonald in Gatineau to chemin de la Rivière in Chelsea
    • Length: 21 km (13 miles)
    • History: First opened in 1964, from the bridge to Route 105 (Gatineau, Exit 5); last section opened in 1991, from chemin Scott to chemin de la Rivière (Chelsea, Exits 13 to 21)
    • Notes: An isolated divided four-lane section of Route 366 exists in La Pêêche, which is planned to be connected to the existing A-5 by the end of this decade, extending A-5 to 33 km in length.

Autoroute 10

  • Name: Autoroute Bonaventure
    • Description: From the A-720 (Autoroute Ville-Marie) to Île des Sœurs in Montréal
    • Length: 4.1 km (2.5 miles)
    • History: First opened in 1967
  • Name: Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est
    • Description: From the Champlain Bridge to Route 112 in Sherbrooke
    • Length: 153.8 km (96 miles)
    • History: First section (Montréal-Longueuil across the Champlain Bridge) opened in 1962.
    • Notes: The easternmost section east of Sherbrooke is a Super-2.

Autoroute 13

  • Name: Autoroute Chomedey
    • Description: From the A-20 in Montréal to the A-640 in Boisbriand
    • Length: 21.4 km (13.3 miles)
    • History: First opened in 1975, it was originally to extend to Mirabel International Airport but was cancelled, and likely will never be constructed.

Autoroute 15

  • Name: Autoroute 15 Sud
  • Name: Autoroute Décarie
    • Description: From the Turcot interchange to the A-40 interchange in Montréal
    • Length: 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
    • History:
  • Name: Autoroute des Laurentides
    • Description: From the A-40 interchange to Route 117 in Sainte-Agathe
    • Length: 89.4 km (55 miles)
    • History: First opened in 1958; the last section was completed in 1974
    • Notes: Route 117 continues northward as a four-lane divided expressway. It is possible that A-15 could be extended beyond Mont-Tremblant.

Autoroute 19

  • Name: Autoroute Papineau
    • Description: boul. Henri-Bourassa in Montréal to boul. Dagenais in Laval
    • Length: 10.1 km (6.3 miles)
    • History: First section was opened in 1970 (boul. H-Bourassa to boul. Lévesque), final section was completed twenty years later
    • Notes: Most of the section in Montreal is an urban arterial (Avenue Papineau).

Autoroute 20

  • Name: Autoroute Jean-Lesage (known as the Montreal-Toronto Highway throughout the West Island)
    • Description: Ontario-Quebec border at Rivière-Beaudette (continues as Highway 401 in Ontario) to rue Père Nouvel in Rimouski
    • Length: 541.7 km (336 miles) - the longest Autoroute in Quebec
    • History: Construction of the A-20 began in 1964. It should be noted that the A-20 is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway, from the A-25 interchange (Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Tunnel) up to Route 185 at Riviere-du-Loup
    • Notes: Autoroute 20 is comprised of two separate segments. The western segment extends from the Ontario border to Saint-Georges-de-Cacouna, and the eastern segment is a bypass of Rimouski, which was extended in 2003 to Luceville. A section of this highway from Vaudreuil-Dorion eastward to the Galipeault Bridge (approximately 4 miles) is a congested arterial four lane road. It is slowly being upgraded to Autoroute standard.
    • Future: There are plans to connect both segments - extending the western segment to Trois-Pistoles and eventually connecting with the Rimouski bypass, and the eastern segment will likely extend from Luceville to Mont-Joli

Autoroute 25

  • Name: Autoroute 25 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de Lanaudière)
    • Description: The A-25 is divided into two sections: the first section connects the A-40 to the A-20 (L.-H. Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel) and the second runs from the A-40 interchange to Route 125 in Saint-Esprit
    • Length: 49.9 km (31 miles)
    • History: The first section was completed in 1967 and is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway while the second section was completed up to Saint-Esprit in 1999
    • Future: There are long-term plans to extend A-25 all the way to Route 347 in Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci which would double its length to 100 km. A section of Route 125 is currently expressway-grade, which would form the northern end of A-25, connected by 30 km of new highway. No timeline is currently set.

Autoroute 30

  • Name: Autoroute de l’Acier
    • Description: The A-30 consists of four sections: the first detours Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, the second detours the Kahnawake reserve, the third links Saint-Constant (at the junction of the A-15) to Sorel, and the final section links the A-55 and Bécancour
    • Length: 122.7 km (76 miles)
    • History:
    • Future: Construction will start in 2005 on a plan to link up separate segments of the route. A new alignment bypassing Saint-Constant south of Route 132 will be built, although there will be a two-kilometer overlap with A-15, and this segment will be finished by 2008. By 2009, A-30 will be linked between Châteauguay and Vaudreuil-Dorion. The existing A-30 segment around Salaberry-de-Valleyfield will be renumbered as A-530 and will connect with the new A-30 bridge of the Saint Lawrence River. When finished, A-30 will provide a southern bypass of Montréal. There are no plans to connect the third and fourth segments though.

Autoroute 31

  • Name: Autoroute Antonio-Barrette
    • Description: A short Autoroute that follows Route 131 between the A-40 and Joliette
    • Length: 14.3 km (8.9 miles)
    • History: Completed in 1966

Autoroute 35

  • Name: Autoroute de la Vallée-des-Forts
    • Description: A short Autoroute that connects Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Iberville to the A-10; it was originally known as the Autoroute de la Nouvelle-Angleterre. A-35 ends at Route 133, which continues as Interstate 89 in Vermont.
    • Length: 19.2 km (11.9 miles)
    • History: Completed in 1967
    • Future: A-35 will be extended to finish the freeway link to I-89 via some new alignments and upgrading of certain expressway sections of Route 133. Some have also called for a northern extension to Sorel-Tracy, although there are no immediate plans for that.

Autoroute 40

  • Name: Autoroute Félix-Leclerc (Autoroute Métropolitaine between A-15 in the east and boul. H.-Bourassa in Montréal in the west; Autoroute de la Rive Nord between the Rivière des Prairies and Route 341)
    • Description: From the Ontario-Quebec border at Pointe-Fortune (continues as Highway 417 in Ontario) to Route 138 in Boischatel
    • Length: 347.1 km (216 miles)
    • History: The A-40 is a part of the Trans-Canada Highway from the Ontario border to the A-25 interchange. The first section of the Autoroute Métropolitaine opened in 1960.
    • Future: It is envisioned that A-40 will be extended eastward, possibly as far east as Route 360, as recreation in the Charlevoix area increases. There are no immediate plans to extend A-40, however.

Autoroute 50

  • Name: Autoroute Maurice-Richard
    • Description: The A-50 is not a complete route; the first segment, in the east, connects the A-15 to Lachute--this section is a simple roadway, with at-grade railway crossings (rare for a freeway). The second segment, in the west, links Hull to Masson.
    • Length: 59.2 km (36.8 miles)
    • History: The western section of this Autoroute was originally named the Autoroute de l’Outaouais, as it follows the path of the Rivière des Outaouais on the Quebec side.
    • Future: Construction on an extension from Masson to Thurso will be complete by 2005, and by 2007, the western segment likely will extend from Thurso to Fassett. Ultimately, in the longer term, A-50 is envisioned to be completed between Fassett and Lachute, closing the gap in the freeway. Slight westward extensions are also possible, however it is unlikely to extend beyond Aylmer, and should it do so, it would most likely be a Super-2.

Autoroute 55

  • Name: Autoroute Joseph-Armand Bombardier or Autoroute Transquébécoise

Autoroute 70

  • Name: Autoroute 70 (or, unofficially, Autoroute du Saguenay)
    • Description: From Chicoutimi to Jonquiere
    • Length: 17 km (10.6 miles)
    • History: Completed up to Jonquiere in 2002
    • Future: Autoroute 70 will be extended from Jonquiere to Alma, and eastward from Chicoutimi to La Baie

Autoroute 73

  • Name: Autoroute Robert-Cliche
  • Name: Autoroute Henri-IV, Autoroute Laurentienne
    • Description: A short trunk route linking Québec City to Stoneham, just north of Québec City
    • Length: 27 km (16.8 miles)
    • History:
    • Future: Long extensions are underway, which will extend A-73 farther north through the Laurentians and up to the Saguenay region along the Route 175 corridor.

Autoroute 85 (future)

  • Name: Autoroute 85 (or, unofficially, Autoroute du Temiscouata)
    • Description: From Riviere-du-Loup to the New Brunswick border south of Degelis
    • Length: about 98 km (61 miles)
    • History: Currently Route 185 and part of the Trans-Canada Highway. A short freeway section exists on the northern end.
    • Future: It is proposed that Route 185 will be upgraded to an Autoroute for the entire length, for a continuous freeway along the Trans-Canada Highway across Quebec. Once completed, it should be designated A-85.

Autoroute 410

  • Name: Autoroute 410 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de l'Université)
    • Description: Short spur from the A-10 to the Université de Sherbrooke
    • Length: 5.3 km (3.3 miles)
    • History: Completed in 1978
    • Future: Autoroute 410 is planned to connect with Route 108 just east of Lennoxville, allowing truck traffic to completely bypass the congested town. It will pass south of the town, before connecting near the experimental farm to the east.

Autoroute 440

  • Name: Autoroute Laval
    • Description: From the A-13 west of Laval to the A-25 on the east side of Laval.
    • Length: 13.2 km (8.2 miles)
    • History: Construction on this section of the A-440 was completed in 1979
  • Name: Autoroute Charest, Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency
    • Description: Short spur routes in Québec City
    • Length: 12.5 km (7.8 miles)
    • History:

Autoroute 520

Autoroute 530 (future)

  • Name: Autoroute 530 (no official name yet)
    • Description: This route will be the new designation of what is now A-30 bypassing Salaberry-de-Valleyfield where a new bridge across the St. Lawrence River will be constructed connection to the current A-540.
    • Length: 14 km (9 miles)
    • History: Currently most of the route is signed as A-30, with a short section unfinished where the A-530/A-30 interchange will be.
    • Future: A-530 is expected to be completed and designated in 2009.

Autoroute 540

  • Name: Autoroute 540 (or, unofficially, Autoroute Vaudreuil)
    • Description: Connects the A-40 and A-20 in Vaudreuil
    • Length: 4.9 km (3.1 miles)
    • History: Completed in 1967, will be renumbered as an A-30 extension by 2009.
  • Name: Autoroute Duplessis
    • Description: Runs from the Pierre-Laporte Bridge to Route 138 in Sainte-Foy
    • Length: 5.1 km (3.2 miles)
    • History: Completed in 1966

Autoroute 573

  • Name: Autoroute Henri-IV
    • Description: This is an extension of A-73, which runs from the A-73/A-40 interchange to Route 369 in Québec City
    • Length: 7.8 km (4.8 miles)
    • History: Completed up to Route 369 in 1998

Autoroute 640

  • Name: Autoroute 640 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de contournement nord de Montréal)

Autoroute 720

  • Name: Autoroute Ville-Marie
    • Description: This Autoroute passes under downtown Montréal through the Ville-Marie tunnel, but the length of the route runs from the Turcot interchange up to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge
    • Length: 8.5 km (5.3 miles)
    • History:

Autoroute 740

  • Name: Autoroute du Vallon
    • Description: From boul. Laurier (Sainte-Foy) to the A-40 interchange in Quebec City.
    • Length: 7.4 km (4.6 miles)
    • History:

Autoroute 955

  • Name: Autoroute 955 (or, unofficially, Autoroute de Saint-Albert)
    • Description: From Saint-Albert to the A-20 interchange in Sainte-Eulalie
    • Length: 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
    • History: This short section of Autoroute was destined to become part of a much longer section of freeway, as the A-55 was supposed to follow this route as opposed to its current alignment through Drummondville; however, this was never realised, but the short route still remains.

Autoroute 973 (unsigned)

  • Name: Autoroute Laurentienne (southern section)
    • Description: This short route links downtown Quebec City with the A-40/A-73 interchange. It is only signed as Route 175 (the A-973 designation is only on paper).
    • Length: 3.6 km (2.1 miles)
    • History: Completed in 1963

See also

External links



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