Autoroutes of Quebec

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Autoroutes of Quebec
System information
Maintained by Transports Québec (MTQ)
Length2,381.9 km[1][2] (1,480.0 mi)
Formed1958 (1958)
System links
Quebec Autoroute 20 west in Montreal, ~km 66.

The autoroute system is a network of freeways within the province of Quebec, Canada, operating under the same principle of controlled access as the Interstate Highway System in the United States and the 400-series highways in neighbouring Ontario. The Autoroutes are the backbone of Quebec's highway system, spanning almost 2,400 km (1,491 mi). The speed limit on the Autoroutes is generally 100 km/h (62 mph) in rural areas and 70–90 km/h (43–56 mph) in urban areas; most roads are made of asphalt concrete.

The word autoroute is a blend of auto and route, equivalent to "freeway" or "motorway" in English, and it became the equivalent of "expressway" in French. In the 1950s, when the first Autoroutes were being planned, the design documents called them autostrades from the Italian word autostrada.[3]


Standard Autoroute shield

Autoroutes are identified by blue-and-red shields, similar to the American Interstate system. The red header of the shield contains a white image representing a highway overpass, and the blue lower portion of the shield contains the Autoroute's number in white, along with a fleur-de-lis, which is a provincial symbol of Quebec.

Most Autoroute and road traffic signs in the province are in French, though English is also used on federally-financed or -owned routes, such as the Bonaventure Expressway in Montreal. To surmount the language barrier, however, most signs in Quebec use pictograms and text is avoided in most cases, with the exceptions usually only being the names of control cities. Other exceptions that are posted in both languages is the illegal use of radar detectors when entering the province that reads "DÉTECTEURS DE RADAR INTERDITS/RADAR DETECTORS PROHIBITED", as well as areas where roads can be slippery due to melting ice and snow, marked "DEGEL/THAW".

Numbering system

Drivers along eastbound Autoroute 30 approach the exit for Autoroute 15.

Autoroutes are divided into three types – principal routes, deviation routes, and collector routes – and are laid out and numbered in a fashion similar to the Interstate Highway System in the United States. The principal Autoroutes are the major highways of the province, and have single- or double-digit numbers. East-west Autoroutes running parallel to the Saint Lawrence River (for example, Autoroute 20 and Autoroute 40) are assigned even numbers, while north-south Autoroutes running perpendicular to the Saint Lawrence (such as Autoroute 5 and Autoroute 15) are given odd numbers. Deviation and collector Autoroutes both feature triple-digit numbers. Deviation routes are bypasses intended for truck traffic to circumvent urban areas, and are identified by an even number prefixing the number of the nearby Autoroute that it bypasses (for example, Autoroute 440 in Laval). Collector Autoroutes, by contrast, are spur routes into urban areas, and are identified by an odd number prefixing the number of the nearby Autoroute that it branches off of (such as Autoroute 720, a spur of Autoroute 20 into downtown Montreal).


Quebec's first Autoroute was the Autoroute des Laurentides (Laurentian Autoroute), which opened in 1959 as a toll road. This initiative to bring freeways into Quebec was started by Maurice Duplessis, whose government saw the construction of the Laurentian Autoroute (now A-15) from Montreal 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 Montreal by car for Expo 67. Montreal's Autoroute Décarie (A-15) and the Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Bridge–Tunnel were constructed for that very reason. The Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est (Eastern Townships Autoroute - A-10) 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 Interstate 87), originally built in the 1940s, were upgraded to expressway standards. The A-20 also connects with Highway 401 in Ontario. A-40 was extended out to Berthierville, and later to Trois-Rivières in the 1970s. Others include Autoroutes 25, 30 (southern beltway), 31, 35 (eventually connecting to Interstate 89), Autoroute Laurentienne (73), and 640 (an unfinished proposed northern beltway).


The 1970s also saw the completion of the Pierre Laporte Bridge in Quebec 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 Quebec City region, creating a dense web, which led to significant sprawl. In 1976, 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, the Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est, the Autoroute de la Rive-Nord (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,A-15 and A-20). It was removed in 1990 because the Champlain Bridge is federal property and is thus not subject to provincial tolls.


In the 2000s, there were several high-profile failures and collapses around some Autoroutes, due to aging and crumbling infrastructure, including the Boulevard du Souvenir overpass collapse, De la Concorde overpass collapse, and most recently the Ville-Marie tunnel collapse. An online poll by Léger Marketing conducted shortly after the Viger tunnel collapse found that 88 percent of Montrealers are "worried" about the state of roads, bridges and tunnels in the city, with more than half of respondents saying they are downright "scared" to drive under an overpass (58 percent), on a bridge (54 per cent), or through a tunnel (53 per cent). McGill University's Saeed Mirza stated that ill-advised design choices and poor-quality concrete were used in the construction rush ahead of Expo '67 and the 1976 Olympics. In particular, the concrete used was permeable with lack of proper drainage, and these allowed chlorides from de-icing salts to corrode the steel reinforcements.[4]

Main-class autoroutes

Number Length (km)[2][1] Length (mi) Southern or western terminus Northern or eastern terminus Local names Formed[2] Removed Notes
A-5 34.0 21.1 King Edward Avenue at Ontario boundary in Gatineau R-105 / R-366 in Wakefield Autoroute de la Gatineau 01964-01-011964 current
A-6 55 34 A-15 in La Prairie Route 235 in Farnham Richelieu Autoroute, Autoroute Haut-Richelieu A-6 was to roughly parallel Route 104. The western half of the route was cancelled by the mid-1970s while the rest of the route was abandoned a few years later.
A-9 12 7.5 A-40 in Pointe-Fortune A-50 in Lachute Pointe Fortune-Lachute Autoroute A-9 was to provide a fixed crossing over the Ottawa River but was cancelled.
A-10 145.1[5] 90.2 R-136 in Montreal A-55 / A-610 in Sherbrooke Autoroute Bonaventure, Autoroute des Cantons-de-l'Est 01962-01-011962 current
A-13 21.4 13.3 A-20 in Lachine A-640 in Boisbriand Autoroute Chomedey 01975-01-011975 current
A-15 (TCH) 164.0 101.9 I-87 at United States border at Lacolle R-117 (TCH) in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts Autoroute Décarie, Autoroute des Laurentides 01958-01-011958 current Part of the Trans-Canada Highway between A-40 in Montreal and Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts.
A-16 9 5.6 R-134 A-30 in Longueuil Autoroute Wilfrid-Laurier Reserved for autoroute conversion of Boulevard Wilfrid-Laurier (Route 112 and Route 116).
A-18 A-55 near Victoriaville Proposed A-65 in Plessisville Autoroute des Bois-Francs Unbuilt.
A-19 10.1 6.3 A-40 (TCH) in Montreal A-440 / R-335 in Laval Autoroute Papineau 01970-01-011970 current
A-20 (TCH) 534.5 332.1 Highway 401 at Ontario border at Rivière-Beaudette R-132 in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Autoroute Jean-Lesage, Autoroute du Souvenir 01964-01-011964 current Part of the Trans-Canada Highway between A-25 in Longueuil and A-85 in Rivière-du-Loup.
A-20 45.2 28.1 R-132 in Rimouski R-132 in Mont-Joli Autoroute Jean-Lesage 01991-01-011991 current Future plans to connect to the western segment.
A-25 (TCH) 52.1 32.4 A-20 (TCH) in Longueuil R-125 / R-158 in Saint-Esprit Autoroute Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine 01967-01-011967 current Part of the Trans-Canada Highway between A-40 in Montreal and A-20 in Longueuil.
A-30 144.1 89.5 A-40 (TCH) in Vaudreuil-Dorion R-132 in Sorel-Tracy Autoroute de l'Acier 01968-01-011968 current
A-30 20.8 12.9 R-132 in Bécancour R-132 in Bécancour Autoroute de l'Acier 01975-01-011975 current No plans to connect to the western segment.
A-31 14.3 8.9 A-40 / R-131 in Lavaltrie R-131 / R-158 in Joliette Autoroute Antonio-Barrette 01966-01-011966 current
A-35 41.4 25.7 R-133 in Saint-Sébastien A-10 in Chambly Autoroute de la Vallée-des-Forts 01966-01-011966 current Future extension to United States border and I-89.
A-40 (TCH) 347 216 Highway 417 / TCH at Ontario border near Pointe-Fortune R-138 / R-368 near Boischatel Autoroute Félix-Leclerc, Autoroute Métropolitaine, Autoroute Transcanadienne 01959-01-011959 current Part of the Trans-Canada Highway between Ontario and A-25 in Montreal.
A-50 159 99 Rue Montcalm in Gatineau R-117 near Mirabel Autoroute de l'Outaouais, Autoroute Maurice-Richard 01975-01-011975 current
A-51 45 28 Route 116 near Melbourne A-20 in Drummondville 01974-01-011974 01982-01-011982 Renamed A-55.
A-55 247 153 I-91 at United States border at Stanstead R-155 in Shawinigan Autoroute Joseph-Armand-Bombardier, Autoroute de l'énergie 01964-01-011964 current
A-65 Thetford Mines A-20 in Villeroy Autoroute de l'Amiante Unbuilt. Possible extension to A-10 near Lambton.
A-70 31.56 19.61 R-170 in Saguenay (Jonquière) R-170 in Saguenay (Aéroport Bagotville) Autoroute du Saguenay, Autoroute Alma-La Baie 01983-01-011983 current Autoroute 70 is being extended westward from Jonquière to Alma, and eastward from Aéroport CFB Bagotville to La Baie.
A-73 135.0 83.9 R-204 in Saint-Georges R-175 in Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury Autoroute Robert-Cliche, Autoroute Laurentienne, Autoroute Henri-IV 01963-01-011963 current
A-85 (TCH) 62.9 39.1 Route 2 (TCH) at New Brunswick border near Dégelis A-20 (TCH) near Rivière-du-Loup Autoroute Claude-Béchard 02005-01-012005 current Part of the Trans-Canada Highway for its full length. Presently a 35 km (22 mi) gap between Saint-Antonin and Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!; connection made via Route 185, which it will eventually replace.
  •       Former

Spur Class Autoroutes

Number Length (km)[2][1] Length (mi) Southern or western terminus Northern or eastern terminus Local names Formed[2] Removed Notes
A-410 12.9 8.0 R-108 / R-143 in Sherbrooke A-10 / A-55 in Sherbrooke Autoroute Jacques-O'Bready, Autoroute de l'Université 01971-01-011971 current
A-415 7 4.3 A-15 in Montréal A-19 (unbuilt section) in Montreal Mount Royal Autoroute Cancelled northern leg of a proposed downtown freeway loop.
A-430 A-15 / A-30 in Candiac A-30 in Varennes Several kilometers of Route 132 north and south of A-20 was designated A-430 on paper in the 1970s.
A-440 18.2 11.3 A-13 / R-148 in Laval A-25 in Laval Autoroute Jean-Noël-Lavoie, Autoroute Laval 01974-01-011974 current
A-440 12.5 7.8 A-40 / A-73 in Québec A-40 in Québec Autoroute Charest, Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency 01962-01-011962 current Two segments with a 4 km (2.5 mi) gap through downtown Quebec City; connection made via Boulevard Charest.
A-520 7.8 4.8 A-20 in Dorval A-40 (TCH) in Montréal Autoroute Côte de Liesse 01966-01-011966 current
A-530 12.9 8.0 R-132 / R-201 in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield A-30 in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield 02012-01-012012 current Formerly part of A-30.
A-540 5.1 3.2 A-73 / R-175 in Québec R-138 in Québec Autoroute Duplessis 01966-01-011966 current
A-540 4.9 3.0 A-20 in Vaudreuil-Dorion A-40 in Vaudreuil-Dorion 01967-01-011967 02012-01-012012 Renamed A-30.
A-550 Ontario boundary in Gatineau
(Would continue as Highway 416 in Ottawa)
A-50 in Gatineau Deschênes Autoroute, Britannia-Deschênes corridor Gatineau bypass, including a new bridge across the Ottawa River.
A-573 12.9 8.0 A-40 / A-73 in Québec R-369 in Québec Autoroute Henri-IV 01976-01-011976 current
A-610 10.3 6.4 A-10 / A-55 in Sherbrooke R-112 in Sherbrooke Autoroute Louis-Bilodeau 02006-01-012006 current Formerly part of A-10.
A-640 53.2 33.1 R-344 in Oka R-344 in Charlemagne Autoroute de contournement nord de Montréal 01961-01-011961 current
A-720 8.1 5.0 A-15 / A-20 in Montréal Rue Notre-Dame in Montréal Autoroute Ville-Marie 01972-01-011972 02021-01-012021[6] Renamed R-136.
A-730 4.2 2.6 A-30 in Saint-Constant R-132 in Saint-Constant 02012-01-012012 current Formerly part of A-30.
A-740 7.4 4.6 R-175 in Quebec Boulevard Lebourgneuf in Québec Autoroute Robert-Bourassa, Autoroute du Vallon 01975-01-011975 current
A-755 10 6.2 A-55 in Trois-Rivières A-40 in Trois-Rivières Autoroute de Francheville 01977-01-011977 01990-01-01c. 1990 Renamed A-40.
A-930 2.5 1.6 A-30 in Candiac R-132 in Candiac 02012-01-012012 current Formerly part of A-30.
A-955 15.9 9.9 Rue Principale in Saint-Albert A-20 (TCH) / A-55 in Sainte-Eulalie 01975-01-011975 current None of this highway is of freeway standard.
A-973 3.6 2.2 Rue du Chalutier / Rue du Prince-Édouard in Quebéc A-40 / A-73 in Quebec 01983-01-011983 current Cosigned with Route 175 for its entire length.
  •       Former

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ministère des Transport: "Distances routières", page 5, Les Publication du Québec, 2005
  2. ^ a b c d e "Répertoire des autoroutes du Québec" (in French). Transports Québec. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  3. ^
    • In 1900 the word autostrade was used in Aéroport intercontinental. Bassin d'Arcachon. Le Teich Editor: J. Bière (Bordeaux)
    • In 1924, the Italian word autostrada was coined (See )
    • In 1924, the words auto-strade and auto-route were used in the French language in Revue d'artillerie (Nancy, Paris, etc.) 1924-01 for construction af road for exclusive use of automobile in Italie
    • In 1925, the first autostrada was opened in Italy (See )
    • In 1925, some tourist organisations become involved in debates around autoroutes; see Bulletin officiel / Union des fédérations des syndicats d'initiative de France, colonies et protectorats by the Union des fédérations des syndicats d'initiative de France Colonies et Protectorats (Paris) 1925-03
    • In 1931, an autoroute meeting (Congrés international des autoroutes) occurred, organised by an autoroute organisation (Bureau international des autoroutes); See Le Journal (Paris) 1931-09-01 Contributors: Fernand Xau and Henri Letellier 1931-09-01 (N14198). page 3
    • In 1932, Paris started a project of autoroute building; See Le Journal (Paris) 1932-04-27 Contributor: Fernand Xau and Henri Letellier 1932-04-27 (N14437), page 2
    • In 1935, France creates legal concepts regarding the building of autoroutes: Dictionnaire du notariat: répertoire général de droit civil et fiscal avec formules. Tome 15 / par les rédacteurs du Journal des Notaires et des Avocats Editor: Administration of the "Journal des notaires et des avocats"; Publisher: L. Maretheux (Paris) 1922–1941
    • In 1957, studies about the United States make the link between autoroutes, freeways and expressways: expressways have at-grade junctions, freeways are a kind of autoroute with restricted access at each interchange to avoid any conflict point in a sophisticated way such that the driver could be lost if he does not follow the signage; See La Technique sanitaire et municipale: hygiène, services techniques, travaux publics: journal de l'Association générale des ingénieurs, architectes et hygiénistes municipaux de France, Algérie-Tunisie, Belgique, Suisse et Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Author: Association générale des hygiénistes et techniciens municipaux Editor: Berger-Levrault (Paris) 1957-01
  4. ^ Gohier, Philippe (2011-08-23). "Montreal is falling down - Canada". Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  5. ^ Ministère des transport: "Distances routière", page 12, Les Publications du Québec, 2005 (Distance between Montreal and exit 143)
  6. ^ "CityNews".

External links