A Place To Stop

by Carroll McCormick

MONTREAL, Que. – This March, construction will begin on four new service areas alongside major highways in Quebec, under a private-public partnership with the Quebec government. Construction will be completed by this September. In addition, two existing service areas will be expanded. In Magog, construction will start on a new site as soon as Transports Quebec completes the construction of access ramps later this year. Of note to truckers is the inclusion of reserved parking spaces for tractor-trailers and even B-trains.

The Quebec-based real estate developer and manager, Immostar Inc. will design, construct and fund the seven service areas, and operate and maintain them for 30 years. A consortium of private investors is putting up $35 million for these projects, which Immostar says is a first in Quebec. All will include restaurants open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some will include fuel stations and all will have green spaces with picnic tables and room for travellers to stretch their legs. The service areas will feature tenants such as St-Hubert, Couche-Tard, McDonalds and Tim Horton’s. All will be easily visible and immediately accessible from the highways.

From west to east, here is a rundown of the service areas:

• Just one kilometre inside Quebec after leaving Ontario, on Autoroute 20, is Riviere-Beaudette. Once this service area is completed this September, it will include a 1,518-square-metre facility with a 24/7 restaurant, tourist information, convenience store, washrooms, gas station and picnic area. There will be parking for 14 tractor-trailers and two B-trains.

• On the A-40 at Exit 12 near Rigaud, 70 kilometres west of downtown Montreal, a 1,420-square-metre building will also include a 24/7 restaurant, tourist information, convenience store, washrooms and gas station. There will be parking for 11 tractor-trailers and two B-trains. The center, to be completed this September, will be accessible from both directions.

• Roughly 55 kilometres north of Montreal on A-15 is Saint-Jerome. There is already a service area at Exit 51, with a restaurant, corner store and gas pumps, but it will be expanded in 2011.The building and parking will be upgraded, and by the time the work is done there will be a 24/7 restaurant, tourism information centre, convenience store and other amenities. The parking lot will include six tractor-trailer slots. The service area will be accessible from both directions.

• One hundred kilometres east of downtown Montreal on the A-40 is Maskinonge, on the edge of lac Saint-Pierre. The architectural ren dering of the planned 1,313-square-metre building, scheduled to open this September, sports Tim Horton’s and St-Hubert chicken restaurant logos. In addition to a 24/7 restaurant, tourist bureau, convenience store and washroom facilities, there will be parking for 11 tractor-trailers and two B-trains.

• Continuing east on the A-40 will take you to Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, a hair west of Quebec City. The existing service area here will continue to operate while being upgraded this year. This somewhat smaller facility will measure 657 square metres in size. It will have a 24/7 restaurant, public phones (as will the other service areas),convenience store, tourist information and washrooms. The parking lot will include slots for 10 tractor-trailers and one B-train.

• Heading east from Montreal on the A-10 brings drivers to Magog after 130 kilometres. At Exit 115 to route 112, a 1,585-square-metre facility will be built. In addition to the goodies that the other service areas will offer, there will be room for temporary kiosks, presumably offer ing goods for sale. The Magog site will have 21 parking spaces for tractor- trailers and three for B-trains. It is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2010.

•The seventh site is 44 kilometres north of Sherbrooke in Melbourne (aka Richmond) on southbound Highway 55 at the intersection of Route 243. The facility will replace an existing site in Moulin, 23 kilometres to the north. The new site will include a 24/7 restaurant (the artist’s rendering shows Tim Horton’s and Couche Tard logos), convenience store, washrooms, gas station, play area for children and a green space. There will be dedicated parking for 14 tractor-trailers and two B-trains.

Immostar notes that if traffic does not warrant 24/7 restaurant hours, it will contract mobile distributors who will offer sandwiches, coffee and other light foods.

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