Montreal announces $378M in road repairs, upgrades in 2019

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WATCH: Montreal has announced 25 new infrastructure projects set to take place in the city in 2019 – Apr 11, 2019

Driving through Montreal can be tough at the best of times, and a new crop of construction projects means traffic is not about to get better anytime soon.

On Thursday, Sylvain Ouellet, the Montreal executive committee member in charge of infrastructure, announced plans for 25 large infrastructure projects in 2019.

A total of $766 million is expected to go toward the projects, including $378 million to repair or rebuild roads, sidewalks, intersections, tunnels and bridges. The remaining $388 million will be set aside for projects related to the city’s water and sewage networks.

READ MORE: Merchants fume as Montreal’s Rachel Street sees major construction 5 of the past 6 years

The public works blitz is expected to cover 260 kilometres of roads throughout the city.

Of the projects planned for this year, some have already begun. Major projects around the city include a revitalization project for Griffintown, an overhaul of Ste-Catherine Street in downtown Montreal and construction of an express corridor on Pie-IX Boulevard.

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“Even if the streets are bad on the surface, sometimes we need to repair first underground,” Ouellet said at city hall on Thursday afternoon.

A 2016-17 audit performed for the City of Montreal revealed that 45 percent of its roads are in bad shape. Results of a new audit are expected later this year, but Ouellet admits there is a lot of work to do.

“Yes, there (are) still lots of streets in bad condition,” he said.

READ MORE: Years more roadwork ahead — Montreal extends construction plan to a decade

Montreal Opposition leader Lionel Perez wasn’t impressed by the infrastructure announcement. He told reporters that Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration is failing to deliver, having promised more than $1 billion worth of infrastructure work over a year ago.

“They’re going to have to be able to explain to the population why they didn’t deliver those numbers that they promised because I know the way that the city works, that it was impossible,” he said.

Robert Libman, a former member of the executive committee, told Global News that what’s needed is a better quality of asphalt and work standards.

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“Polymers in asphalt can be modified to make it much more durable, and for some reason, this is not being done,” Libman said.

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