MONTREAL, Que. - Recent funding announcements for Quebec highways are thick on the ground this spring. For example, $30 million on April 15; $538 million on April 29 and two May 2 announcements: one f...
MONTREAL, Que. – Recent funding announcements for Quebec highways are thick on the ground this spring. For example, $30 million on April 15; $538 million on April 29 and two May 2 announcements: one for $150 million and another for $106 million. All told, Transport Quebec, with plenty of matching funds from the federal government, promises to spend $3.9 billion over the next three years.
What can truckers look forward to once the orange cones have been hauled away? Faster travel south into the United States, a four-lane highway to replace that cow path from Riviere-du-Loup to the New Brunswick border, a lot of new pavement in the Quebec City region, more work on the A-55 north of Trois-Rivieres and improvements to the A-50 in the Hull area.
Here are some more highlights: Quebec had already earmarked $90 million for work through to 2007 to expand the A-50 further east from Hull, but on April 29 the federal government added $50 million to that pot. By 2010 the A-50 will run 90 kilometres to Montelbello. In Montreal the federal and provincial governments will each invest $55 million to redesign and rebuild the Dorval circle (also known as “The Accident Waiting to Happen”) and improve access between the A-20 and the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport. The airport authority is going to kick in $10 million and Montreal had pledged $30 million. Once this multi-year project is completed, access to the A-20 via the A-520, heavily travelled by trucks, will become far easier.
Autoroute 35, which starts with lots of promise and four lanes at the A-10, but poops out only 19 kilometres to the south at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was promised a $57-million jolt by the feds. This is a good thing: this is the second-busiest north-south corridor between Quebec and the U.S. and the traffic has to travel about 35 kilometres on the hopelessly inadequate Route 133. Still, at last report, construction will not begin before 2009.
About 140 kilometres to the west, where the A-55 crosses the border at Stanstead, $15 million in federal and provincial funds have been committed for the construction of a third highway lane, two kilometres long, to accommodate trucks waiting to enter the U.S. The intersection at highway 247 will be redesigned, an intelligent system for managing traffic will be installed, and a highway control area will be constructed.
Two weeks after Transport Quebec announced it would spend $17 million south of Quebec City to extend the A-73 from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce to Beauceville over the next two years and another $7.2 million to widen a section of the 173 near Saint-George from two lanes to four, the feds offered $51.5 million to continue the work.
In mid-April, Transport Quebec announced $106 million in spending for highway construction and repairs in and around Quebec City, spread out over 30 projects. Work will begin this year and the affected roads include the A-40, A-73, A-540, A-573 and Routes 138, 169, 175 and 358. For truckers long resigned to the nearly 120 kilometres of two-lane highway between Riviere-du-Loup and the New Brunswick border, the feds also announced as part of their April 29 “agreement in principle” an $85 million infusion of money to keep the earthmovers moving to complete work currently under way and help fund the last 91 uncompleted kilometres of this billion-dollar Trans-Canada Highway project.
No new recent funding announcements have been made for the A-30, but both the federal and provincial governments are upbeat about the progress made so far. Most recently, two firms have been working on a two-phase project to dismantle 58 power pylons and replace them with 50 new ones out of the path of the A-30 corridor. Phase 1 began at the end of January and was supposed to finish at the end of May. Phase 2 began in March and should finish this December.
Truckers plugged into the Internet who want to see road conditions and road work before they head out, can check out the Traffic Webcams on the Transport Quebec Web site (http://www.mtq.gouv.qc.ca). Click “Inforoutiere” on the toolbar and then “Traffic Webcams”. This area is searchable in French or English. There are cameras at the A-15, R-133 and A-55 border crossings, and frequently updated wait times for New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario border crossings are also available.