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Montreal to hold summit on construction, traffic, road closures

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With a goal to come up with ways to better coordinate work and minimize the impact multiple construction sites have on road closures, the City of Montreal is planning a summit on construction sites.

An overdue election promise from her 2021 election campaign, Mayor Valerie Plante's office announced that an unprecedented gathering of stakeholders would seek solutions to rid Montreal of its orange cone reputation.

"I think there were numbers recently that said of the 90 per cent of streets affected by construction, only 30 per cent was city workers," explained traffic analyst Rick Leckner. "And yes, it's all these private contractors and the utilities, according to the information I have, [who] do not need clearance from the city, including the city's electrical commission."

The planned summit, to be held on March 30, is too little too late, said Montreal opposition city councillor Alan DeSousa.

"I think the Plante administration has put this off and put this off, and anything that comes out of this summit will be too little, too late to implement in its entirety for this upcoming summer. So motorists, citizens, pedestrians and cyclists will all have to go through another summer of frustration," said DeSousa.

Leckner wants an overseer to be appointed because the detours are not just caused by road crews.

"The real trouble is the independence of the boroughs who do what they want when they want – issue permits to private contractors without any regard to what the traffic consequences will be – that has to be far better controlled," he said.

Leckner said a summit of this size is unprecedented and promising.

"I think it's the first time they are bringing together so many different players, and let's just hope that there are meaningful recommendations, and they are followed," he said.

DeSousa disagrees.

"The city has been asleep at the wheel, too slow to get things done, and that doesn't leave much room for optimism," he said. 

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