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Quietly, on a Friday afternoon in summer, the Québec Transport ministry dropped plans to rebuild a major Montréal highway interchange as a public-private partnership.

The Turcot Interchange connects highways 15, 20 and 720. (See also this panoramic photo) Built in 1967, it has been literally falling apart for some time.

The Québec government announced plans to rebuild the massive cloverleaf in 2007 for between $1.2 and $1.5 billion. But when the business plan was announced in October 2008, the government announced the project would be undertaken as a public-private partnership.

The government blames the credit crunch in private sector borrowing for the change in plans.

“The $100-million saving wasn’t there,” Transport Minister Julie Boulet told the Montreal Gazette Jul. 25.

But CUPE National Secretary Treasurer Claude Généreux doubts the savings were ever there.

The project has also faced stiff public opposition over its environmental impact.