Conversations about the construction of the long-awaited sound barrier along Beaurepaire Drive in Beaconsfield are in limbo.
Mayor Georges Bourelle says the city’s hands are tied when it comes to making plans for the massive infrastructure project, which has been talked about for decades.
Bourelle says he is anxiously waiting on the results of the Quebec Transport Ministry’s technical report, which was first put into motion in 2018.
“Now it’s a question of the process, the process of getting the technical report,” Bourelle said.
The report has been delayed numerous times and the MTQ expects it to be available by the end of March of this year.
The city will be holding public consultations once the findings are public.
“I would say by the end of 2020 to go through the process,” Bourelle said.
“Then in 2021 we would be in the position to start construction.”
The wall would measure an estimated five kilometres and stretch across all of Beaconsfield along Beaurepaire Drive.
Early estimates for the cost of the wall are at $20.5 million.
Beaconsfield would foot 25 per cent of the bill, with the remaining 75 per cent covered by the ministry, an agreement made in 2010.
Residents say they have waited too long for the wall.
The news that neighbouring Baie D’Urfé has gotten the green light to build a sound barrier has echoed in Beaconsfield.
Resident Michel Rheault, a member of the Beaconsfield Pollution Corridor Initiative, says the news is a punch in the gut.
“We feel (Baie-D’Urfé’s) mayor understands the need of their people,” Rheault said.
As the volume of traffic on Highway 20 increases, so, too, have the sound levels on Beaurepaire Drive, with some measuring above 65 decibels.
Rheault said waiting for the wall to be built has put residents’ health in jeopardy.
“We have been waiting for 35 years and we know the effect is cumulative. Why should we wait if the MTQ has this deal right now and this study in the next two months?”
Bourelle says the city still has many hurdles to jump before breaking ground.
The city has yet to decide how it will be paying for its share of the costs, something that will be discussed with residents at council.
“I think it’s fair to say in the next three to five years, assuming our residents accept the funding, we could see a wall in place,” Bourelle said.