Years more roadwork ahead: Montreal extends construction plan to a decade

The administration of Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says it recognizes that residents can’t take much more roadwork and road closures than are already in place.

So it’s modifying a Denis Coderre-era plan, which had been to quickly redo the city’s road network over five years, by instead extending the timeline to a decade.


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Under Coderre’s plan, 500 kilometres of the city’s road network would been tackled every year. But the Plante administration says that is too much, saying it won’t work on more than 300 km of roads every year.

“We have to realize it was kind of insane to think we could pass from 300 km of road maintenance to 500,” said Eric Alan Caldwell, the Projet Montreal councillor in charge of construction. “That was the plan. That plan is gone.”

The city admits about 45 per cent of Montreal roads are in dire condition. That goes up to 55 per cent on some major arteries. The Canadian standard is 24 per cent.

Under the former Coderre’s administration’s road work plan, it would have taken the city five years for Montreal’s roads to reach the Canadian standard. Under the Plante administration’s new plan, it will now take 10 years to reach that number.

“We have to get better,” Caldwell said.  “That is what we are doing. Planning is a key element.”

The city also wants better coordination, so sidewalks and trees and hydro, for example, are all tackled at the same time.

It also wants to move away from the former administration’s plan of doing palliative work on some roads, extending their life to 12 years from seven.

The city says it wants to do deeper, more complete reconstruction of some roads, to make them last 45 years.

That, though, riled up the opposition.

“If we can extend roads that don’t need a full reconstruction, which is less expensive and won’t have as much of an impact, it’s the smart approach to it,” said Lionel Perez, leader of the opposition at City Hall.

Perez also slammed the new plan as inefficient.

“The net effect of this decision will mean that we are going to have more congestion, more work sites for a longer period of time, and it’s not what Montrealers want,” he said.

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