Priority status sought for 440 urban boulevard

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Nelligan MNA says project is in feasibility study phase

By Kevin Woodhouse
www.thesuburban.com

At last week’s council meeting, the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro passed a resolution calling on the Transport Quebec to make the urban boulevard project on the 440 a priority.

The urban boulevard was given a green light by the previous Liberal government but fell by the wayside during the 18-month Parti québécois reign that ended last April. For Mayor Dimitros Jim Beis, now is the time to bring the project back onto the table, even before other infrastructure projects like the Jacques Bizard corridor are considered.

“We are not opposed to other West Island infrastructure projects but we feel that the 440 project must be a priority,” Beis told The Suburban.

Beis feels that it will help alleviate current traffic congestion for both Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Kirkland residents trying to get access to Highway 40 and, as noted via press release, “the construction of this north-south road link is necessary to the development of Pierrefonds West. More than 6,000 homes will be built in this area that will become a small city in itself with its shops, public transit network and parks while ensuring the preservation of a 180 hectare eco-territory.”

The Pierrefonds-Roxboro mayor and member of the Montreal executive committee would also like to see a lane for public transportation and a bike path for non-car commuters, “allowing our residents to commute within and out of the borough” without being stuck in traffic.

Over the summer months, Beis met with Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson and Nelligan MNA and  Treasury Board Chairman Martin Coiteux over the issue. While both mayors agree that the urban boulevard is essential, Gibson wants to make sure that the new construction plans will include an overpass.

“We have been told that the urban boulevard is an agglomeration concern but the MTQ will need to come on board for an overpass. Otherwise, as studies done in 2011 have shown, there will be a major traffic bottleneck at the bottom of Ste. Marie,” Gibson told The Suburban.

With a four way intersection and overpass, Gibson is confident that “30 per cent of current traffic on St. Charles would be diverted via the new boulevard,” said the Kirkland mayor.

In conversation with Coiteux, the Nelligan MNA told The Suburban that the inclusion of an overpass “would be the key to success for this project and will be part of the new urban boulevard.”

When asked when construction could begin, Coiteux explained that there are many requests from across the province for infrastructure needs. “But we pushed forward for the 440 urban boulevard during our campaign and within the new laws for infrastructure spending; the urban boulevard is under a feasibility study as the costs for the project are being accessed.”

Coiteux said that the project’s numbers had to be updated and once said study is completed, hopefully by the beginning of 2015, the project could head into the next phase, an opportunity study. Once that hurdle is completed, the planning phase begins.

“The fact that the project is in the feasibility study phase shows me that the MTQ is showing tangible interest in the project,” said Coiteux.

The minister noted that over the next decade, the province has earmarked $90 billion in infrastructure spending that comprises municipal development, hospitals and road work.

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