Merchants, motorists relieved after Ste. Catherine reopens to traffic
Published Monday, September 26, 2011 6:56PM EDT
MONTREAL - After more than a year of delays and detours, Ste. Catherine St. near Place des Arts finally re-opened to traffic Monday.
The closure was because of the city's massive project to expand the entertainment district known as the "Quartier des Spectacles."
Some may have enjoyed Ste. Catherine St. being car free, but for business owners like Billy Burak, the presence of cars was a sight for sore eyes.
"Whenever you have traffic you always have business," he said. "It's been a nightmare, an absolute nightmare."
Burak, owns several buildings along Ste. Catherine and Jeanne Mance, estimates he's lost half of his business while construction crews, and utility companies dug up the street in front of him and his tenants and closed it to traffic.
The Opposition city councillor for the area said major projects such as this one should be better coordinated and completed quicker.
"We should draw our contracts so that people are working 7 days a week," said Francois Robillard of Vision Montreal. "If you're in a non-residential area, it can be done."
But the Executive Committee member responsible for the culture and design, Helen Fotopulus, said the final phase of the Quartier des Spectacles project was completed on time and on budget.
"To accommodate the festival season, the work had to be done in various phases," she said.
"And today- after installing new sewers, pipes, a pneumatic garbage system and refinishing the surface with stones- the city re-opened the street."
"It was a project that was complicated to say the least especially as we wanted accommodate the busy festival season."