There really is a light at the end of the tunnel…


by: Irene Guy-Morrissette – Regulatory Specialist CFT Canada

Rules regarding dangerous goods in tunnels can be difficult to interpret as DGs are not completely prohibited but are highly restricted. The restrictions apply to all drivers, including tourists. Fines can be high, and the driver can lose 9 demerit points depending on the severity of the situation.

In the province of Québec, the regulated tunnels are : Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (under the seaway), Ville-Marie & Viger tunnels (under Montréal), Joseph Samson tunnel (near Québec city), and the Melocheville tunnel in Beauharnois. These tunnels are important and should an incident occur could not only affect public safety, but would have a negative impact on transport and commerce.

A recent incident involving a camper in the Lafontaine tunnel was reported. The presence of 3 propane cylinders on the food truck being towed, present a high security risk to the public and the integrity of the tunnel and violates the regulation. The total capacity of the three cylinders was more than 200L and if damaged, had the potential of becoming flaming torpedoes.

Flammable gases, such as propane or acetylene, the limit is two cylinders, each not exceeding a capacity of 46L. Even the small green camping propane cylinders count! For example, a camper or trailer carrying two propane tanks is permitted, but add a couple of little green cylinders and the maximum number is exceeded!

So in short, regulations concerning gases: flammable gas, oxidizing as well as toxic/flammable and toxic/oxidizing gases are limited to two cylinders per vehicle and each cylinder must not exceed 46L capacity.

Other restrictions are:

  • DG’s in placardable quantities (more than 500kg, or in bulk, or have an ERAP) are forbidden for transport in these tunnels, with the exception being Class 9, miscellaneous substances
  • Flammable liquids are restricted as well. The maximum quantity that can be carried per vehicle is in a container or a combination of containers where the capacity of all containers combined does not exceed 30 Litres. So, one 25L jerrican of gasoline (full or emptied) is allowed. However, two are not even if empty because the total capacity is 50L. This rule applies to all flammable liquids (paints, adhesives, alcohols, gasoline, kerosene, etc.) New containers that have never been used or containers that have been cleaned and purged of all residues are not subject to the regulations since they do not contain any DG’s.

Open flames are not allowed, either. Whether it is a roofing contractor, a road repair crew, a camper with the pilot light on, they are all forbidden. Any open flame in the tunnels could ignite any vapors that could escape in the event of an incident or accident.


If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact CFT Canada’s team of regulatory specialists.


Article referenced from: Division XI: Requirements applying to the use of tunnels of Chapter C-24.2, s. 622, 1st part., subparts 1 to 8.


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