The most famed shopping street in downtown Montreal is being reduced to rubble.
Work crews are digging up Ste-Catherine Street West to replace 100-year-old sewage pipes and water mains with new ones.
Phase one of the road work stretches between de Bleury Street and Mansfield Street — a six-block stretch that will last two years and is budgeted to cost more than $100 million.
Part of the commercial street is already closed to traffic while other parts are lined with no parking signs.
Business owners in the middle of it all are hoping sales won’t suffer but they fear it could be difficult for customers to get to the shops.
“The impact that we’re getting now, that’s what I’m afraid of,” Fadi Assaleh, owner of Bijouterie F. Assaleh, told Global News.
The city is considering some form of compensation for shop owners such as tax breaks or subsidies for businesses to upgrade their storefronts.
But officials admit these aren’t easy times for merchants.
“It’s going to be tough for most of them. We’re going to help them during the construction,” Robert Beaudry, a member of Montreal’s executive committee member, told Global News.
Beaudry added the city eventually plans to rebuild Ste-Catherine Street all the way to Atwater Street — a project that’s expected to last four years.