CONNECTING A-40 WITH A-50: From the 1960s through the mid-1970s, highway planners in Quebec devised plans to connect A-40 (Trans-Canada Autoroute) near Pointe-Fortune with A-50 (Outaouais Autoroute) near Lachute. The north-south autoroute was to have been near the Quebec-Ontario border just east of the Carillon hydroelectric generating station.
Beginning at A-40 near EXIT 1 (QC 342), the proposed autoroute was to head east across the Ottawa River from Pointe-Fortune to St. André d'Argenteuil (Carillon) near QC 344. At this point, the autoroute was to veer north, roughly along the alignment of QC 327 toward A-50 near EXIT 258 in Lachute. The entire length of the proposed autoroute was to have been roughly 12 kilometers (seven miles).
The proposed north-south freeway, which likely would have been designated A-9 as it was roughly midway between A-5 in Ottawa and A-13 in Montreal, would have provided a direct link to Lachute and other North Shore towns to the Trans-Canada Highway. More importantly, A-9, in conjunction with an extended A-50 east to Berthierville, would have formed a northern outer bypass of Greater Montreal while providing an additional link to Mirabel Airport. Given the highway priorities of Expo 67, the construction of Mirabel Airport, and preparations for the 1976 Summer Olympics closer to Montreal, he Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) likely considered A-9 a low-priority proposal, and accordingly dropped plans for the freeway in 1976.
Evidence for the proposed A-9 can be found on A-40 just east of EXIT 1, where the eastbound and westbound roadways diverge for several hundred meters to accommodate ramps for a potential "directional-Y" interchange within the median. This section of A-40 was built in the mid-1960s, when long-range construction plans for A-9 may have been considered.
No similar accommodations were made for an A-9 / A-50 interchange, as the corresponding section of A-50 on the North Shore was built in the 1970s, and plans for A-9 appeared on the verge of cancellation.
The route over the Ottawa River that was to have been used by A-9 today is served by the Carillon-Pointe Fortune ferry from April through December, and by an ice bridge from January through March.
This 2005 photo shows the westbound Trans-Canada Autoroute (A-40) at EXIT 1 (QC 342) in Pointe-Fortune, just before the Quebec-Ontario border (as noted by the ON 417 shield on the overhead sign on the left). Engineers working on A-40 left a very wide median to accommodate ramps for a "directional-Y" interchange with the Pointe Fortune-Lachute Autoroute (A-9). (Photo by Scott Steeves, www.canhighways.com.)
SOURCES: "New Road Building Outlined in Detail," The Montreal Gazette (3/27/1969); Ministère des Transports du Québec.
A-9 shield from Wikipedia. Lightpost photo by Douglas Kerr.