Massive roadwork to continue as Montreal delivers $6.4 billion 3-year capital works plan
Montreal will continue to be an island filled with detours and roadwork for years to come as the city confirmed its three-year plan for infrastructure will follow the plan that began in 2014.
The Valerie Plante administration has outlined its first three-year capital works program, and it's largely on track with the hefty amounts of roadwork and sewer repair undertaken in previous years.
From 2018 to 2020 Montreal plans to spend $6.383 billion on roadwork, water mains, and other necessary projects.
- $2.085 billion in 2018
- $2.158 billion in 2019
- $2.140 billion in 2020
This is a slight reduction in spending compared to what was set forth by the Denis Coderre administration.
Among the significant changes is a reduction in cost to the redevelopment of Ste. Catherine St., because Plante has decided not to install heated sidewalks.
Plante has also decided not to install the large, inflatable tunnels that were going to be used to mitigate dust and noise for pedestrians.
Over the next three years the majority of spending, more than $4 billion, will go toward roadwork, water mains, and sewer repairs, as the city continues to deal with the effects of decades of neglect by administrations in the '70s, '80s, '90s, and '00s.
Plante said she is very aware that many citizens feel the quality of Montreal roads is poor, and so the city will experiment with new road construction techniques and materials.
“We're looking at processes to make sure some of the pavement we're using is better quality,” she said.
She would not, however, guarantee anything given Montreal's weather conditions.
“We need to be realistic. We see the winter we're having right now and it's not going to change,” she said.
Waterworks alone will swallow $1.7 billion as the city plans to close water filtration plants in Dorval and Lachine.
- Roadwork: $2.19 billion
- All underground work: $1.92 billion
- Buildings and land: $1.15 billion
- Parks and playing fields: $694 million
- Office equipment: $232 million
- Vehicles: $112 million
- Machinery: $64 million
- Other assets: $15 million
As part of the underground work, $537 million will be spent to fix old and often leaky pipes – that’s $200 million more than it spent last year.
“Of course this is more expensive so we need to have more revenues,” said Plante, who said if the city hadn’t raised the water tax, it would have had to borrow an additional $31 million.
“Maybe Denis Coderre would have said I'm going to borrow all the money for the water infrastructure, but the thing is, this not good for us, our line of credit it wouldn't be responsible,” she said.
The leaders of the opposition are not happy with the spending plan.
Opposition leader Lionel Perez and St. Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa said the budget for water infrastructure is actually less than last year's plan, but has resulted in an increase in water taxes.
“What we see today is incoherence,” said Perez. “We had an objective of 134 kms to repair, well that objective is maintained for 2018, 2019 and 20.”
The Plante administration will also increase spending on social housing by $15 million and spend $50 million on bike paths, significantly more than the Coderre administration.