Québec Roads - QC 344
John St. from Hawkesbury, ON becomes Rue Maple in Grenville. The photo faces west into town as I approach QC 344 on the north shore of the Ottawa River.
Typical multi-way stop, heading east from the western end of A-640.
Older shields EB and WB at 20ème Avenue, Deux-Montagnes. I imagine they're the same age, but because the eastbound signs face a little southward, they've been beaten up much more by the sun.
Old stuff, EB. The railroad overpass dates to 1954.
EB (first two photos) and WB (last photo). These shields are all stinkin' old, but the best treasure is to be found to the northwest on QC 148, so you'll have to visit that page (conveniently linked at the bottom of this one).
Old, matter-of-fact sign in St-Eustache.
Sadly, I was traveling westbound at the time, but these are eastbound blue signs dating to the construction of A-13. Since then, green signs have become the norm, and only along 13 have any significant number of the blue guide signs survived.
As I said, I was traveling westbound. These signs are so old, they give away another historical fun fact: A-13 was originally supposed to extend north of A-640 (the interchange is very obviously a stub cloverleaf), and serve Mirabel Airport to the north. Now, it's still to the north, but only via A-640 to A-15, and I guarantee you that routing was not the original intent of these signs. Oh, and while QC 344 makes a decent enough bypass of A-640, heading south onto l'Île de Montréal is a terrible détour.
I was surprised to revisit just a short piece of QC 344 in 2008 and find another shield that I'd missed last time, at Monteé Sanche in Boisbriand. Click either photo for closeups of the the front and back of this EB gem, and you'll see like the Montée Lesage shield below, this was also reused twice - the front side was originally 16A (as best as I can read - the 1 and 6 are clearest). It's in worse condition on the front, but better on the back - I'm sure they were all flipped at the same time, though.
There is so much going on at Montée Lesage, I'm going to pause at these two signs, eastbound and westbound respectively, and take them one at a time. It's obvious the westbound sign was patched over, but the eastbound sign looks original. Given how cracked they are, though, you could bet they're both the same age, and that age is from the 1960's at best. My QC 148 page (linked at the bottom of this one) already tells you why these shields were patched, but basically, there was a renumbering years ago, and QC 344 has been the best at preserving the old numbers. Click on each photo for a closeup that gives you a better idea of what each shield looks like, except the westbound QC 344 shield closeup is coming below. (It's amazing that the A-640 shields look every bit as old - clearly they're originals.)
Getting up close and personal with the eastbound shield, you see the faint outline of a 7 lurking behind the 4. Route 7 is now QC 133, serving I-89 coming out of Vermont and connecting via A-35 to Montréal. It then traveled west along QC 104, as a multiplex with Route 9B (which used QC 223 north from New York), and then along QC 134 into Montréal.
The greatest surprise is on the other side. Before even becoming a Route 7 shield, this was a black-on-white shield for Route 33, one of the last surviving black-on-white shields in the province (with its partner). Route 33 followed QC 339 and 341 (and a piece of 348) from L'Assomption to Rawdon, a little east of Montréal. So this shield went from northeast of the city to southeast, and now is northwest.
Long-delayed, here is the closeup of the westbound shield - click for an even larger closeup of the full shield. This is a patched-over Route 11A shield, from what is now QC 117 heading northwest out of Montréal into Laval (where it met Route 11). There is another Route 11A that is now QC 107, but it's far enough away from Montréal that I would guess this shield's from the close one. Incidentally, between this and the eastbound shield, you have now noticed that during a brief period, the three fleurs-de-lis atop the shield coexisted with the old route numbers (the old shields on the QC 148 page are green but say ROUTE, so there have been at least four sign models).
As promised above, the westbound shield also has a black-on-white back - and the OUEST does as well! It looks like that's an old black up arrow, inverted 180 degrees. Route 105A connected to VT 105A (Glen Sutton Rd. in East Richford), and followed Chemin de la Valleé-Missisquoi to QC 243 (then Route 39).
Ironically, despite all the recycled signs on QC 344, the only sign recycled from 344 is mixed into A-530 construction in Saint-Timothée. That's right, Virginia, QC 344 was Route 29 once upon a time.
Pardon the English, WB in Lorraine.
Light-up sign, WB at Montée Gagnon just west of QC 335 in Bois-des-Filion.
I've reached the other end of A-640, so for now my journey ends here. The road to the left used to be Boulevard Notre-Dame-des-Champs (our lady of the fields, interestingly), and still is QC 344 EB (this photo is from the perspective of Rue Emile-Despins WB). Céline was born in this town of Charlemagne, not far from this very street, so perhaps the name fits, but it's still tacky to name something after a living person.
Onto QC 148
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