Repairs to Highway 20 near exit 181 are underway Sunday, after Quebec's Transport Ministry closed it preventively last night as construction unveiled a risk of collapse.
A spokesperson for the ministry said repairs would likely continue into the evening, with teams from the transport ministry on site. The work includes excavation, soil compaction and paving the roadway.
The highway is currently closed in both directions at exit 181, near Foucault Boulevard. Motorists travelling between Quebec and Montreal are being advised to detour via Routes 122 and 143, or Highway 40, according to Transports Québec.
Transport Ministry spokesperson Roxanne Pellerin said specialists are assessing the situation and will make recommendations regarding the reopening of the road.
"We will wait for the inspection of this team of specialists to see the nature of the work to be done, which can tell us more about the timeline," she said.
The City of Drummondville is asking that people avoid the area as much as possible and that people driving from Quebec City to Montreal take Highway 40 instead.
It also advised users of the road network to be extra cautious and to respect traffic signs, as well as the instructions of the personnel assigned to guide traffic.
Mayor Stéphanie Lacoste said the current detour is causing heavy traffic, as it takes drivers across the only bridge across the Saint Francis River in town.
"It's paralyzing our downtown," Lacoste said in an interview with Radio-Canada. "We really don't have the infrastructure for this amount of circulation, so we're hoping the situation is fixed as soon as possible."
Lacoste said the Transport Ministry is aiming to reopen the highway Monday, but that it is also looking for alternatives that could help ease traffic during the daily rush hour.