Quebec’s longest highway construction project, A-35, still not finished

SAINT-SEBASTIEN – The busy summer driving period has arrived and millions of people are taking to the highways to get to their favourite vacation destinations.

Despite the weakening Canadian dollar, many Quebecers are choosing to continue heading south.

But the express highway to get people there still isn’t finished.

Only 16 kilometres separate the end of autoroute 35 and the U.S. border at Highgate, VT.

The project to build the highway started in the 1960’s.

It’s still not finished, and there is no end date in sight.

“It was supposed to be finished in 1967 so I guess 50 years later we might get it next year. I don’t know,” one driver said.

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A 15 kilometre stretch of the road was inaugurated last October by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

Motorists are forced off the four lane highway and have to drive on the winding and often frightening three lane route 133 for the remaining distance to the U.S. border.

There is a strong impetus for the government to finish the highway.

Vermont is Quebec’s largest commercial trading partner with $4.6 billion worth of products crossing through every year – a 40 per cent increase in four years – and five million people cross the Canada and U.S. border between Quebec and Vermont every year.

Shumlin is confident the highway will be finished in the near future.

“I’m actually optimistic that we’re going to get there because Premier Couillard is a ‘get it done’ kind of Premier,” Shumlin said from Montpelier on Monday.

But Transport Minister Robert Poeti isn’t making any promises, saying they’re waiting for a deal to be signed with the Government of Canada, who will share the costs.

“It’s a lot of money and we work in partnership with them,” Poeti told Global News from his Montreal downtown office.

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