Putting stop to West Island road project, PQ blames Liberals for lack of funds or planning
Published Friday, February 15, 2013 9:57PM EST
MONTREAL—The Parti Quebecois says the province can't afford 10 road projects promised by the Liberals in their last months in power, putting planned upgrades to Highway 19 and a new West Island link on ice.
“I am really angry about the Liberal government and about its lack of responsibility,” said Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault, delivering the bad news.
In the twilight of its rule, the Charest Liberals had promised a new north-south urban boulevard to connect Gouin Blvd. to Highway 40 in the West Island, a much-needed link to help the area’s congested roads.
But that project now seems doomed.
According to Gaudreault, even though the Liberals made the road a campaign promise, they failed to earmark the $60 million required for the project.
“Our street has basically become a boulevard. it's a residential street but it's become a nightmare because of the lack of streets that we have here,” said one irate West Island resident.
Another essential project, the Highway 19 extension was promised to bridge the 440 and 640 Highways along Papineau Blvd., linking the quickly growing north-shore municipality of Bois-des-Filion with the Island of Montreal.
Gaudreault added that roadwork costs soared under the Liberals. The Dorval interchange went from an initial price tag of $150 million to $507 million, the Turcot rebuild ballooned from $1.1 billion to $3.1 billion
In the National Assembly, former Liberal Transport Minister Julie Boulet pointed the finger back at the PQ.
“He’s blaming the previous government, but the real problem is that Transport Quebec is making drastic cuts which are impacting these road projects,” said Boulet, the current Liberal transport critic.
The borough mayor of Pierrefonds-Roxboro said the City of Montreal's plan to draw people back to the island is dependent on the new road West Island road.
“I hope it's not a political game,” said Monique Worth. “I think the City of Montreal has been very clear about this project to keep as many people as possible on the Island. In order to do this, we have to build this project because we're about the only borough that has the room to welcome 5,000 or 6,000 new homes.”
A City of Montreal spokesperson told CTV Montreal that the city is pressuring Quebec to go ahead with the West Island road. The PQ government will announce its priorities for roadwork in the coming weeks.