Delayed highway construction project grows longer

MONTREAL – With Canada Day celebrations underway and U.S. Independence Day activities about to begin a lot of Canadians and Americans are on the move on both sides of the border.

One of the main access routes to travel between the two countries is supposed to be the A-35.

But the autoroute is plagued with construction delays.

People travelling between Montreal and Vermont are forced to merge off the A-35 just south of St-Jean-sur Richelieu and take route 133 along a winding 38 kilometer drive through rural areas and small towns before arriving at the U.S. border.

Transport Quebec had promised to finish the highway by 2017 but now that target date has been shelved.

“We don’t have a construction timetable,” said Stéphanie Langelier for the government department.

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The autoroute, once called the New England autoroute, was supposed to be finished by 1967 in time for the Expo World Fair, but it has been plagued with work stops and false starts for decades.

25 kilometers of the highway is slated to be finished by the end of the this year.

The remaining 13 kilometers between St-Sébastien and the U.S. border has no finish date.

“The delay it’s a little bit disconcerting,” said Gail Tisseur, a Montreal native who now lives in Burlington, VT who says she would love to see the A-35 finish sooner rather than later.

“For the number of times I come up to Canada from Vermont it would be a great help,” she said.

The delays aren’t hurting Eric Peeter’s fresh apple produce business.

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The owner of Verger Henryville runs his shop along route 133 and depends on drop-in traffic.

He’s in no hurry to see the A-35 finish.

“We think they’re going to have an impact of our business,” he said.

Peeter says he will likely post signs along the new expressway telling people his shop is open for business.

Langelier insists there will be exits off of the A-35 for drivers to shop on route 133, but for now none of that is necessary as the future of A35 is still far from certain.