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Highway 20 closed after large holes appeared

Three huge holes that appeared along Highway 20 forced the closure of the expressways at Drummondville and forced motorists to detour the village for ten miles for an indefinite period.

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“It’s called chimneys, the localized decline of the earth […] caused by pipeline work in the area, ”explains Roxanne Pellerin, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport (MTQ).

The first of these holes, which according to Le Journal images appears to be about two meters in diameter, is in the central reservation of this neuralgic connection between Quebec and Montreal.

The other two are on each side of the road, along the curb, on Boulevard Foucault, in this village of Center-du-Québec.

According to Dominic Villeneuve, a spokesman for the city of Drummondville, the poultry company La Ferme des Voltigeurs is at the origin of this work. She was busy with an expansion project requiring greater water flow in the area.

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Announcing the situation late Saturday morning, the MTQ proceeded to completely close this section of Highway 20 in both directions. A team of engineers specializing in geotechnics set out to analyze the situation.

“Closing the road was definitely the right thing to do. The van could pass and the ground could collapse under its weight, “says Marc-André Martin, President of the Professional Association of Government Engineers (APIGQ).

It is not uncommon for visible holes to be just the tip of the iceberg, he emphasizes. These chimneys are often made in a conical shape, where the collapsed base is much wider.

“This is generally due to excessive excavation or lack of depth during drilling, which leads to soil drainage,” explains the man, who recalls the importance of government engineers when it comes time to solve this type of problem.

Painful detour

Until the recommendations are sent and the work is done, motorists will have to be patient if necessary. Already yesterday afternoon, the caps on the highway stretched for six kilometers.

A detour of about ten kilometers was established over exit 181, rue Montplaisir, route 122 and route 143, across the only other bridge over the Saint-François River.

All traffic, which usually ends on the Trans-Canadian Highway, will have to go through the municipality indefinitely.

“We urge the people of Drummondville to be extra careful and avoid the area. It is certain that there will be a monstrous constipation in the coming days, “estimates Dominic Villeneuve.