By Rhonda Massad
The temperature over the debated Highway 19 extension is rising, again. Mayors from the North Shore, Laval and Montreal are lobbying for the extension in hopes that the provincial government will hear their pleas while the green groups are vying against the extension due to potential environment consequences.
The plan has been on and off the province’s agenda since the 1960s but construction was put on hiatus over the years as different governments took power.
In 2010, then Quebec premier Jean Charest announced Highway 19 would be extended 10 km from Highway 440 in Laval, to just past Highway 640 in Terrebonne and was expected to be completed by 2019.
Today the proposed $500 million extension would connect the 440 and 640 from Laval to Bois des Filion and would involve four lanes, including reserved bus lanes in both directions. According to David De Cotis, the increased width to Highway 19 would decrease the amount of cars on the road and therefore, increase the quality of air. The push is to move commuters north and south towards the metro stops.
Construction would also include a bridge over the Milles Îles River as well as 690 parking spots opened up near Highway 640, and 280 spots near Côte Terrebonne.
“The extension would allow buses in reserved lanes to travel between terminals, where people can park their cars, and one of the three existing metro stations,” de Cotis explained in an interview with The Suburban.
“The public consultations that were held prior to the holidays, showed the northern municipalities such as St. Therese, Terrebonne, Bois De Filion and Laval favour the project.”
Opponents argue the extension would encourage urban sprawl. A petition with more than 5,000 names submitted to the Mayor Denis Coderre and Minister of Transport Robert Poëti. The Regional Environmental Council (ERC) of Laval had also expressed its opposition to the project, as presented at the hearings of the BAPE.
“At the end of the day it is the provincial government that decides. Do they have the budget to make such a heavy investment?” de Cotis pondered, “We have not heard much from the provincial government. It was a favourable topic during the election but so far we have not seen a strong stand.”
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