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Montreal bracing for heavy traffic with arrival of COP15 conference

Click to play video: 'Growing traffic woes near Palais des Congrès as COP15 conference approaches'
Growing traffic woes near Palais des Congrès as COP15 conference approaches
WATCH: As we approach the holidays, more and more people could soon be making their way to downtown Montreal for shopping. But with the UN conference on biodiversity set to begin in just two weeks, bringing thousands of visitors, a drive into the city could quickly become a nightmare. Global’s Tim Sargeant reports.

The police presence around Montreal’s convention centre Palais des Congrès is increasing as the December 7 start date of COP15 approaches.

Thousands of delegates from around the world are expected to descend on the city for the UN conference on biodiversity.

But their arrival requires a major security presence, resulting in closed roads near the convention centre.

Traffic is expected to be very heavy.

”This is a more diplomatic event which yes, will have some very positive impacts for downtown Montreal, economically, especially for our hotels, but will cause certain disruptions where others may not necessarily see it,” Glenn Castanheira, the general manager of Montréal centre-ville, told Global News.

READ MORE: COP15 security preparations bring disruptions to downtown Montreal

Many employers with offices near the Palais des Congrès are already telling their employees to work from home during the 12-day event.

The Place-d’Armes metro station, which connects directly to the convention centre, will be closed as of December 1. All trains will travel through without stopping.

But the de la Montage exit off of the Autoroute 720 won’t re-open in time, to the disappointment of traffic analysts.

”Unfortunately, poor planning again. Unacceptable, should have been addressed. It’s too late now,” traffic analyst Rick Lechner told Global News.

It means many cars will have to take the next exit, pouring more traffic near the Palais des Congrès.

”We do not understand why the MTQ has not accelerated that re-opening earlier, which could have alleviated a lot of these impacts that we’re expecting to see,” Castanheira said.

The fences around the convention centre are scheduled to remain in place well beyond the conference’s December 19 closing, meaning traffic congestion could continue through the holidays.

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