03/26/2012 10:39 EDT | Updated 05/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Ste-Julie motorists brace for traffic chaos

With demolition work on an overpass in the city of Ste-Julie on Montreal's south shore about to begin, residents are preparing for traffic chaos.

The low-hanging overpass that connects one side of Ste-Julie to the other dates back nearly half a century, and it has taken a beating. Transport Québec said it has been hit more often than any other overpass in Quebec.

In 2011, a truck carrying an excavator slammed into the overpass, and since then, motorists have noticed chunks of concrete falling from above.

Residents and business people said they are preparing for 14 weeks of inconvenience.

"We have to tell people, clients, what the alternatives are," said Mélanie Dubois, who has a dental clinic near the overpass.

She said the city has done a good job of warning people about the looming construction.

The new overpass will meet the modern standard of 5.1 metres, said Transport Ministry spokesperson Suzanne Roy.

"It's going to be wider for drivers," Roy said, adding the better flow of traffic will mean "an improvement for everyone in the area."

Roy said work will continue on the overpass 24 hours a day until the project is completed.

Highway 20, which goes under the structure, will only be closed one Saturday night for about 10 hours.

About 15-thousand vehicles use the overpass every day.