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Expect massive delays around Montreal

MONTREAL, Que. -- Drivers in Quebec can expect construction delays and detours beginning in spring as the province...


MONTREAL, Que. — Drivers in Quebec can expect construction delays and detours beginning in spring as the province pours $1.4 billion into highway work.

The most ambitious road reconstruction plan in 30 years, Transport Minister Guy Chevrette had plans for about $1 billion in construction work for 2002-03. That has increased thanks to Finance Minister Pauline Marois. She topped up that amount in her Nov. 1, budget with an added $400 million, as part of a $3-billion spending program to help counteract the current recession.

“I am announcing a 58-per-cent increase in investments on Quebec roads for 2002-03,” says Chevrette at the annual convention of the Association des Constructeurs de Routes et Grands Travaux du Quebec, which represents the highway construction industry.

Over the next 10 years, Quebec will spend $12 billion to rebuild its existing highway network, maintaining 16,500 jobs a year, Chevrette adds.

The largest portion of the 2002-03 construction budget will go to the Monteregie region — a vast stretch of the South Shore stretching from Sorel in the east to Beauharnois in the west and along the U.S. border, which will get $216 million of the total — followed by Montreal.

There are 34 road-building projects in the Montreal area Chevrette has announced:

* $32.4 million for Hwy. 15
* $22 million to rebuild the l’Acadie interchange on Hwy. 40
* $22 million for Hwy. 132 from Candiac to Riviere-Saint-Jacques
* $19 million to expand to six lanes Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 132 to Hwy. 30
* $15.3 million to update the Notre Dame de Grace tunnel on Hwy. 15
* $10.8 million for work on and leading to the Ile-aux-Tourtes Bridge on Hwy. 40
* $10 million for Hwy. 40 from the Benjamin Moreau Bridge to Saint-Sulpice.

To ensure an early start this year, his department began tendering contracts in January and expects to have about $900 million of its total contracts for this year awarded by the end of April.


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