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Québec 511 > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Winter road conditions
Events taking place on the road network
Traffic Cameras
Route blanche
Québec 511 telephone service
Neighbouring road networks
Accessibility and safety
What is Québec 511?
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Québec 511 is an information service that makes it possible for road users to find the information needed to plan their trips and travel safely on the Québec road network. The information provided by Québec 511 deals with various topics, including roadwork, road conditions, current events on the road network, warnings, services available in rest areas, ferry services and wait times at border crossings. The images captured by traffic cameras can also be viewed.

The Québec 511 information service follows orientations pursued elsewhere in North America to provide road users with transportation-related information using an abridged phone number: 511. This number is also used by many other authorities, notably, in various states across the U.S. as well as in most Canadian provinces.

In addition to a telephone service, Québec 511 offers users a website, a mobile app for intelligent device (iOS and Android) and two Twitter accounts that cover the Montréal, Québec and Lévis areas.

The quality of the information provided by Québec 511 is made possible by the combined efforts of the ministère des Transports (MTQ) and its numerous partners, which include the city of Montréal and many other municipalities, the Société des traversiers du Québec and Jacques-Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc.

What type of information is available on Québec 511?
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Québec 511 is the official source for all the information you need to plan your trips and travel safely on the Québec road network from season to season. Below is a list of the information you can find on the different platforms used by Québec 511.

Québec 511 telephone service

Users can dial 511 to access an interactive voice response system that provides information on:

  • Roadwork and traffic hindrances (location, nature, schedule, duration);
  • winter road conditions;
  • current events on the road network (accident, floods, etc.);
  • availability and schedules of ferry services;
  • wait times at border crossings.

You can also speak with an agent at all times in order to report an incident on the road network, obtain information on any subject pertaining to the MTQ, make a comment, request information or file a complaint.

Québec 511 website

The website contains an interactive map with clickable icons that provide users with a variety of information on the Québec road network, including:

  • roadwork and traffic hindrances (location, nature, schedule, duration);
  • traffic conditions;
  • winter road conditions (roadway conditions and visibility);
  • traffic cameras images (key locations across Québec and border crossings);
  • current events on the road network (accidents, floods, etc.);
  • ferry services (availability and schedules);
  • Route blanche and its status (open or closed);
  • wait times at border crossings;
  • location of rest areas and villages-relais, along with the services offered;
  • location of photo radars and red light cameras;
  • truck traffic bans and weight limits;
  • information on Federal bridges.

Users can also view images from traffic cameras installed in various regions, consult the Mobility Montréal section, explore the Bicycle-Friendly map and access different information intended for transportation companies.

Québec 511 mobile app

After installing the mobile application, users can consult the Québec 511 interactive map and traffic cameras as well as receive alerts to be informed of events that are taking place on the road network (warnings, roadwork, general messages).

Québec 511 Twitter accounts

Our two Twitter accounts are used exclusively to provide followers with information on events that may cause disruptions on the road network in the greater Montréal and greater Québec and greater Lévis areas.

Where does the information provided by Québec 511 come from?
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Keeping the general public informed is one of the MTQ’s priorities. It has therefore developed efficient tools to ensure road users have the latest information in order to promote mobility and safety.

Teams are in place across the province to ensure that the information provided by Québec 511 is regularly updated. As events and developments unfold, information and updates are entered in the MTQ’s data systems and posted minutes later on Québec 511.

This is the case, for example, for information on roadwork that is under the responsibility of the MTQ, and updates on winter road conditions, which are reported at an established frequency by the teams assigned to maintain the road network. MTQ’s partners, which include the city of Montréal and many other municipalities, the Société des traversiers du Québec and Jacques-Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., also funnel information into the systems linked to Québec 511.

How often is the information updated?
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Information concerning current events on the road network and resulting in hindrances is updated whenever the situation is changing or the event is over.

If a road closing is necessary due to difficult road conditions, it will be announced in the Current Warnings section.

Information on winter road conditions is updated inevitably once a day, between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., from October 15 to April 15 inclusively, and at each change.

Route blanche status information (open or closed) is reported daily by the service providers who perform the maintenance. Information presented by Québec 511 can be displayed for several days if status does not change.

Information on roadwork is updated at each stage of the work and when it is completed.

The traffic cameras images are updated every 2 to 4 minutes.

The data captured in the information processing systems is accessible on Québec 511 within three minutes after capture.

Winter road conditions
During what period of the year are winter road conditions reported?
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Winter road conditions are reported from October 15 to April 15. The information is updated at least once a day or from the moment that changing weather conditions affect the roadway or visibility. Outside these dates, reports are only made if roads become partially or totally covered with snow or ice.

Why are road conditions not reported for all roads?
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The MTQ made the decision to report winter road conditions on transit roads given that the Québec 511 service is used primarily by people travelling outside their region. Transit roads represent approximately 40% of the road network that is under the responsibility of the MTQ. In the case of two parallel roads, information will only be reported for the road that is used the most, as road conditions will generally be the same on both roads. Such selection criteria make it possible for the MTQ to meet its strict quality assurance objectives and ensure the accuracy of the reported information.

Events taking place on the road network
Is it possible to obtain real-time information on road conditions or current traffic disruptions for a particular road?
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Yes. The Québec 511 mobile app allows users to receive alerts in order to be informed in real time of events taking place on the road network. Alerts can be customized according to various topics (roadwork, warnings, messages of general interest), regions and specific roads.

In addition, Québec 511 operates two Twitter accounts, which are used to notify followers of incidents and disruptions that take place in the greater Montréal, greater Québec and greater Lévis areas.

Lastly, a Montréal-based radio station, Radio Circulation 730 AM, continually broadcasts traffic updates on road network conditions in the greater Montréal area.

Traffic cameras
Why do traffic cameras show images in five-second video sequences instead of live images?
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Traffic cameras images are displayed in five-second video loops that are refreshed every two to four minutes. Given the large number of traffic cameras, the constant display of live images would overload the available bandwidth and compromise access to this service.

Why do certain traffic cameras show fixed images instead of video sequences?
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The MTQ is constantly working to modernize its network of traffic cameras. Cameras that only present fixed images will progressively be replaced by equipment capable of displaying video sequences. Also, new cameras are being installed every year to monitor roads that have a higher incidence of traffic or accidents.

Route blanche
What is Route blanche?
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Route blanche is a 500-km-long network of marked snowmobile trails on Basse-Côte-Nord. It connects Kegaska to Blanc-Sablon during about 50 days each year, from January to April depending on winter weather conditions. Route blanche runs through tundra, stone and ice.

What is the information on Route blanche posted on Québec 511?
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The layout of Route blanche is displayed in the Québec 511 interactive map from January to April. A blue line indicates that Route blanche is open, while a red line indicates that it is closed.

When does Route blanche need to be closed?
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About 50% of Route blanche’s surface is made of ice, as it runs through rivers, lakes, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. For traffic to be allowed, ice has to be 25 cm (10 in.) thick on bodies of salt water, and 20 cm (8 in.) thick on bodies of freshwater. In the event of safety concerns, the route is changed when possible. Otherwise, Route blanche is closed.

Overflows are common on Route blanche. They are caused by strong tides or overflows of lakes and rivers located north of Route blanche.

How frequently is the status of Route blanche updated?
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Route blanche is separated in 10 segments. The service providers who perform road maintenance must report the condition of segments under their responsibility to the Ministère. When a segment has to be closed, signs indicating the closure of Route blanche are installed at the entrances and exits of the villages concerned. Additionally, a press release is sent to the media and partners to announce the closure. Concurrently, the status of Route blanche displayed on Québec 511 is updated.

Québec 511 telephone service
Can I speak with an agent to obtain information?
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Yes. You can speak with a Québec 511 agent to obtain general information from Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. by dialing 511 and selecting option 3 in the main menu.

Is the Québec 511 telephone service available across Québec?
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Yes. The Québec 511 telephone service is available free-of-charge throughout Québec.

Can I contact Québec 511 if I am outside the province of Québec?
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Yes. You can contact Québec 511 free-of-charge from anywhere in North America by dialing 1 888 355-0511.

If I find myself in an emergency situation or my vehicle breaks down on the road, can I call Québec 511 to obtain assistance?
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In the event of an emergency situation, it is preferable to call 911 (310-4141 if you are in a municipality that does not have 911 service or *4141 if you are using a mobile phone).

However, if you observe a situation that could present a risk to the safety of road network users, such as the presence of debris on the roadway, you can inform a Québec 511 agent by dialing 511 and selecting option 2 in the main menu.

Neighbouring road networks
Can I obtain information on road network conditions in neighbouring provinces or states?
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Yes. Consult the Neighbouring Road Networks section of the Québec 511 website for links to the 511 services of provinces and states that neighbour Québec.

Accessibility and safety
Can Québec 511 be used by all citizens?
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Yes. The Québec 511 telephone service features an automated response system that can be queried with voice commands or the keypad of a landline telephone or a mobile telephone. This latter feature facilitates the consultation the Québec 511 system by people with speech impairments.

Users can also obtain the assistance of an agent to complete an online form or be accompanied in a request for information.

Can I consult Québec 511 while driving?
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No. It is prohibited to use a handheld device equipped with a telephone, such as a cell phone or a smartphone, while driving. The simple act of using a handheld device is a major distraction. In fact, using a phone behind the wheel impairs driving performance and drivers are four times more likely to be involved in an accident. The risk of committing an offence under the Highway Safety Code (such as going through a red light, not making a compulsory stop) also increases.