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The Top 5 worst roads, bridges and tunnels in Canada, with poll

Posted Oct 3rd 2011 5:30PM


A while back we posted a story about a bridge in the US that had been shut down indefinitely since a major crack was found irreparable. In Canada, we used to pride ourselves on superior roadways to that of the US, but that is rapidly changing. As governments of all levels struggle to stay on top of the crumbling infrastructure, we decided to take it to our Autobloggers to decide what is the worst of the worst for our cars and safety.

We had tips flooding in from around the country but it was clear there were five routes in major Canadian cities that ran away with the, er, prize?! Topping our last poll was the Autoroute Ville Marie, which was the site of a recent collapse but all of these decaying former icons have been patched together are considered by many to be no longer viable for the future.

Be sure to click past the jump for our round-up of the worst roads, bridges and tunnels in Canada and vote in our poll!

Related GalleryWorst roads in Canada
Echanger Turcot - MontrealPattullo Bridge - New WestminsterLions Gate Bridge - VancouverGardiner Expressway - TorontoAutoroute Ville Marie - Montreal

Pattullo Bridge - New Westminster

As one of a few bridges spanning the Fraser river, the Pattullo bridge is considered extremely dangerous. Connecting New Westminster with Surrey, this truss bridge sees a staggering amount of traffic in two lanes each way with no centre median. With dangerous driving or bad weather, the oncoming lanes can become a serious hazard and there have been several injuries and fatalities in it's 74 year history. The lanes are considered too narrow even for cars and commercial vehicles are banned from using it. In 2009, a fire was set under the bridge damaging some of the wooden structure causing total commuter chaos for weeks. It was decided that the Pattullo bridge was too far gone and it will no longer be repaired in favour of a new bridge.

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Echanger Turcot - Montreal

The Echanger Turcot is a twisted mass of roadway that accommodates the hoards of traffic swirling around Montreal. The aging concrete is decaying, the pavement is riddled with potholes and the area is constantly under construction for kilometres. The crumbling interchange system feeds a series of roadways that are no better, the worst of which is the rusting hulk of a bridge they call Pont Champlain. While Montreal is no stranger to catastrophic structural failures, there have been no major incidents reported here.

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Autoroute Ville Marie - Montreal

Considered by many to be the most dangerous roadway in all of Canada, the Autoroute Ville Marie is avoided by many Montreal motorists. Montreal has always been plagued with engineering and construction failures blamed on everything ranging from Mob contracts to Chinese knock-off bolts. On July 31, 2011 a massive section of the Ville Marie tunnel collapsed and miraculously no one was injured or killed. It is advised to be cautious on any road in Montreal!

Image Credit: CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Lions Gate Bridge - Vancouver

As one of Vancouver's most beautiful landmarks, the Lions Gate Bridge is pretty to look at but you wouldn't want to drive on it too often. Opened in 1938, the Lions Gate Bridge was designed to connect Vancouver to wealthy estates popping up in North Van. Originally named the First Narrows Bridge, it was intended for light traffic because it used to be a toll bridge for the rich. However, the Guinness family (of Irish Beer fame) sold it to the province and it's three tiny lanes are clogged to capacity ever since they dropped the tolls. Like many aging bridges and tunnels, the province opted to refurbish the bridge rather than tear it down and the problems continue to stack up.

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Gardiner Expressway - Toronto

Toronto has long considered itself a cleaner and more intact version of New York but those days are over. In addition to all that plagues a big city, crumbling infrastructure is everywhere but none more evident than the Gardiner Expressway. Built between 1955-1964, the Gardiner Expressway deteriorated for decades from salt exposure, heavy traffic and freeze/thaw cycles. By the 1990s, the City of Toronto opted to repair the eye-sore and demolish the eastern portion of the elevated expressway instead of the much more logical (but expensive) tunnel proposal to create green space.

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What is the worst road, bridge or tunnel in Canada?
Gardiner Expressway, Toronto731 (26.6%)
Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver190 (6.9%)
Autoroute Ville Marie, Montreal761 (27.7%)
Pattullo Bridge - New Westminster488 (17.8%)
Echanger Turcot - Montreal577 (21.0%)


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I use the Ville-Marie expressway and the Turcot interchange pretty much every time I get in my car. The constant presence of construction areas is annoying, but you see those areas throughout the city pretty much year-round.

Also the Ville-Marie incident happened because the original architect of the expressway figured it would be a good idea to use big concrete slabs as a sort of "sun shield" to prevent motorists from being suddenly blinded by the sun. Maybe I'm wrong here but I think you could do the same with a large piece of cloth, which would most probably cause less damage if it were to fall on a car...

November 16 2011 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gilles Thibault

The collapse that happened in the Ville-Marie Tunnel was caused by vibrations from MAJOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT ABOVE the tunnel (A very large hospital complex). The Gardiner in T.O. and Turcot in Montreal? Yikes!

November 03 2011 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply