The Bonaventure Expressway will be rebuilt as an urban boulevard at the foot of University St., a stretch of road to be named after former Premier Robert Bourassa

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poeti were among the dignitaries on hand at a press conference Friday Montreal in Montreal to discuss the plans.

The project, which is to be completed in 2017, will see the roads flanking the current elevated section become the new urban boulevard.

There will be four lanes going into the city and five lanes going out to accommodate afternoon traffic, a bus lane in each direction and a bike path.

The elevated section will be demolished and transformed into 20,000 square metres of green space. The 40-metre wide park will be created between the northbound and southbound lanes, an addition Coderre believes Montrealers will love.

“Everyone is saying that there is a lack of green space, now you have some,” he said.

Projet Montreal isn’t as enthusiastic about the project, pointing out that it may not be as appealing as the mayor thinks.

“People will not want to walk around in a space surrounded by nine lane of traffic. Take Parc des Faubourgs, at the foot of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, as an example: it’s twice as wide as the proposed park and yet it is always deserted,” said Craig Sauve, the party’s transport critic, in a news release.

The plan is to keep the expressway open during construction, but the work will be done around the same time construction on the new Champlain Bridge and Turcot Interchange will begin. The project will also require occasional shut downs of the access to the Ville Marie from the Bonaventure.

Work begins next spring.