Off-island residents gathered at the Vaudreuil-Dorion sports centre for the first round of public consultations on the new Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge.
“The current one is more than 50 years old. It is safe, but we need to start planning for the new one,” said Martin Girard, a spokesperson for Transport Quebec.
Girard points out that close to 87,000 vehicles use the bridge off the western tip of the island every day.
The new structure isn’t expected to be complete until 2030, but the initial planning stages are well underway.
Experts were on hand to discuss all aspects of the project, including traffic, environmental impact and public transit.
WATCH: Ile-aux-Tourtes Bridge to be replaced
Many residents want the new REM light rail project, which is set to be completed by 2023, to extend to Vaudreuil.
Deputy Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau has already said that the REM is not in the plans for a new Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge — for now.
Louise Craig, co-founder of the group Le REM dans Vaudreuil-Soulanges, wants to see light rail plans incorporated into the original plan for the bridge.
“It is better for the environment and it is easier to plan for the REM at the early stages,” said Craig.
The current plan is to have a three-lane bridge each way with room for a reserved bus lane and space for cyclists and pedestrians.
At the public consultations, residents can fill out digital surveys, see presentations about the current plans and speak directly with Transport Quebec officials.
The next public consultation will be March 27 in Senneville.