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Driving around (avoiding) Montreal

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London, Ontario
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Driving around (avoiding) Montreal

Hi! I'm driving a 26 foot moving van from Newfoundland out west and I'm a little nervous as it is driving a large truck, and I know how busy the highway gets around Montreal, so I would like to avoid that (cause I would end up being the one honked at by everyone for going too slow)! Is there a route that I can take to by pass the city? Its hard to figure out on the mapping websites what the best route would be. I don't mind adding extra time or going off the highway for a bit, but I figure people on this forum would be more knowledgeable about this. Oh, the other option would be if there's not a great alternative route, what would be a better time to go through? Late at night/early afternoon, etc. Thanks!!

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1. Re: Driving around (avoiding) Montreal

Hmm... it's pretty hard to avoid, and doing so puts you on some even smaller roads and over some even smaller bridges, so perhaps not the solution you're looking for. But you could do it -- say, taking the 30 along the south shore, then the 132 across to Beauharnois and then over to 20. I say check your Google Maps again, and use Streetview to see if you'd feel more comfortable on these 2-lane roads rather than the freeway.

I suspect a better bet would be take the Champlain bridge and hit the 20 that way, or continue on and use the Mercier bridge instead.

And of course there is less traffic late at night. Rush hour for the bridges starts as early as 7:00 - 7:30, and ends a little after 9:00, and starts up again around 3:30 or so, ending around 6:30-7:00.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Driving around (avoiding) Montreal

Hi Suzilaur,


Another option on the "avoid" Montreal solution would be to go NORTH rather than SOUTH around Montreal (the northshore in my opinion being a lot better than the southshore).

So instead of coming into Montreal via Hwy 20, you'd cross the River at Trois Rivieres and take Hwy 40 and then the 640 to the 15 (Laurentian Autoroute) to the 50 (Maurice Richard Autoroute)... all of these are Expressways.

You will want to take a look at an on-line mapping program to get a sense of this route… as it uses a variety of Autoroutes to make it’s way west.

Autoroute 50 currently ends at Grenville / Hawkesbury (Hwy 344) where you will cross over the Ottawa River via the Long Sault Bridge into Hawkesbury, ON... from there then Hwy 174 (Old Hwy 17) to Ottawa.

The wee bit from the end of the Hwy 50 (Hwy 344) and on thru Hawkesbury will be small town Ontario streets... but after that a well maintained Hwy 174 (one-on-one traffic) BUT because it was a major thoroughfare that connected Ottawa to Montreal before Hwy 417 was built it has a 90 Kms Speed Limit, and is built for truck traffic and has many sections where there are passing lanes.

This Northshore routing Trois Rivieres to Ottawa... where Hwy 17 will feed directly into the 417 and the TransCanada Hwy will take you aprox 340 Kms in 4-1/2 Driving Hours* (SEE NOTE 1)


If were to stick to the prescribed route by GOOGLE and go thru Montreal to the same point in Ottawa it would be aprox 344 Kms in 3-3/4 Driving Hours** (SEE NOTE 2)


If you were to take the Southshore routing (that TRISTOU mentioned above in Reply # 1) via Hwy 30 and Hwy 132 (not an Expressway) and then Hwy 401 to Hwy 416 onto that same point in Ottawa it would be aprox 400 Kms and and 4-3/4 Driving Hours*

--- --- ---

*NOTE # 1– Driving Times are just that… time spent driving, they don’t account for Stops, Breaks, or Sightseeing… nor for Delays caused by Traffic, Road Construction and Weather Conditions. They are estimated by GOOGLE MAPS using the shortest most direct route (unless otherwise noted) and driving under ideal conditions at the posted Speed Limit.

--- --- ---

** NOTE # 2 - The important factor to consider here is the part about “ideal conditions” and Traffic.

As TRISTOU stated getting around Montreal is no easy task… it is a city located at the heart of the St Lawrence River where the Ottawa River meets it… so everything funnels into a point.

The Southshore route is slow just because it is not all expressway (posted at 100 KPH)… the 132 winds its way thru the countryside connecting various towns in the area… although it is the major artery for the southshore (some of it being double laned with a median... as I recall).

Going thru the actual City of Montreal is going to be bad just about any time of day… but especially so at the Rush Hours via any On-Line Mapping Preferred Routing. Going around Montreal by the Northshore could also be impacted by Rush Hour Traffic, but certainly not to the same extent as going thru the city itself.

Other than in the middle of the night… you will experience some kind of traffic delay if you choose to go right thru the city… and besides, who really wants to drive in the dark thru the night… because then there is the HUGE hassle of finding a place to stay… beyond the cities, accommodations are not that great or plentiful along the T-Can (lol, bear this in mind when you get to Northern Ontario… Sudbury – Sault Ste Marie – Thunder Bay and Kenora are your best bets for overnights, plan your route accordingly).

--- --- ---

Hope this is helpful,

If you need more info on this route… just ask, I know it well as I have family both in the Quebec City area and the Laurentians… so I have used this route often myself when I travel from Ottawa (my hometown).



Edited: 12 May 2010, 16:34
Montreal, Canada
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3. Re: Driving around (avoiding) Montreal

They are building a ring road for Montreal, but it's not yet finished.

Southern route: If you are driving on the 20 you can take the 30 ouest (west). The 30 becomes the 132. Continue and get back on the 30 when you see it. The 30 becomes the 132 (boul. Rene Levesque). The 132 takes a turn (left) and becomes Lery, then Maple Grove, then Edgar-Hebert, then Monseignor Langlois, which is the Autoroute 920. Follow it until you meet up with the 20 again.

Northern route: Take the 40 to the 640. Get on to the 15 North, then the 50 West. At the end of the 50 take the 344 (Maple) into Ontario (where it is called John, then Main and finally McGill). Then get on the 417 Queensway toward Ottawa. From there you have a choice, you can take the 138 S to rejoin the 401 or you can drive through Ottawa and take the 7 through to Peterborough.

I honest STRONGLY suggest that you just bite the bullet and drive through Montreal on the 40. Just avoid rush hour, make sure you have a full tank before you get to Montreal.

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Driving around (avoiding) Montreal


<< Northern route: Take the 40 to the 640. Get on to the 15 North, then the 50 West. At the end of the 50 take the 344 (Maple) into Ontario (where it is called John, then Main and finally McGill). Then get on the 417 Queensway toward Ottawa. >>

1- As I drive this route frequently... I can say that the Hwy 417 to Ottawa coming from Hawkesbury IS A LONGER ROUTE vs Hwy 174 ... and you have to drive Hwy 34 which is 2 lane as well... and not in the best shape lately due to frost heaves (was on it just a few weeks ago).

2- After crossing the Bridge into Hawkesbury, the Traveller will have to follow the direction for Truck Traffic to Hwy 174 Westbound... I am not sure of the exact routing so I haven't mentioned that in my post (as I don't drive a large truck).

<< From there you have a choice, you can take the 138 S to rejoin the 401 or you can drive through Ottawa and take the 7 through to Peterborough. >>

The Traveller clearly has said they are headed "out west"... I assume that means the Prairies or beyond... in which case they need the TransCanada Highway (Hwy 17) and that they will join in Ottawa's western suburbs... and NOT via the 401 to Toronto.

Other than going thru Montreal (which if planned for can be a workable option) then I stand by my suggestion of taking this Northern Route which will get them to Ottawa without having to deal with Montreal for the most part... and provide them with excellent roads.



Edited: 12 May 2010, 19:40
5. Re: Driving around (avoiding) Montreal

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