Montrealers have had to stomach a lot of roadwork over the past few years -- but that may have just been the appetizer for the main course.

The city of Montreal announced Wednesday it has a ten-year plan to conduct urgent repairs on sewers, aqueducts, and roads that were left to rot through decades of neglect, or were just built poorly in the first place due to rampant corruption.

"We know where we're going, we know what we have to do, this is a reality check," Mayor Denis Coderre told the city's Chamber of Commerce.

Coderre said that 45% of the 4050 km of roads in Montreal need either urgent or immediate repair.

The estimated cost over the next decade is $7 billion, but Coderre said not doing the work would just lead to a more expensive mess in the future.

And Coderre, knowing more detours and roadwork will be unpopular, isn't afraid to face criticism.

"What would you like? Would you like to have a cross country with holes everywhere and saying where the hell is the Mayor, he's hiding where?" said Coderre.

Business owners freely admit the work that has been done to date has been difficult, but they say that if the work to come is planned properly, it may not be that bad.

"If it's done well we will contain the suffering. And at the same time we'll start to see the embellishing of the city," said Michel Leblanc, president of the Chamber of Commerce.

Coderre said the city of Montreal is willing to compensate businesses that are affected by construction work.

"I'm in favour to compensate them. Of course they have to do due dligence, they have to show their books, they have to prove that there is an impact," said Coderre.

Substantial work already done

In the past decade Montreal has repaired 322 km of aqueducts and water mains -- with one third of that work done in the past two years.

In addition to getting faster at repairing and replacing leaky pipes, the improved water mains mean less water is dribbling into the ground.

Over the past decade the number of leaks in Montreal water mains has decreased by 20%, and that means the city of Montreal does not have to produce as much clean drinking water.

Thanks to improved aqueducts and water efficiency in homes and businesses, water production in Montreal has dropped by 15% since 2006.

But 30% of sewers and 13% of water mains, are still in very poor shape.

1,056 km of sewer lines need urgent or immediate work, along with 543 km of water mains.

The situation might actually be worse: 15%, or 740 km of sewer mains, have not been inspected.

The lack of repair should not come as a surprise since about one-quarter of the sewer lines in Montreal are 129 years old, and another quarter are 176 years old.