The third phase of the extension of Highway 35 in Quebec’s Montérégie region toward the American border is underway.
Transport Minister François Bonnardel made the announcement Thursday morning that the work had begun last week.
The current project will see the road extended between Saint-Sebastien and Saint-Armand by 8.9 kilometres. The government is spending $222 million on the project, which includes an injection of $82 million from the federal government.
“I am very happy with this new phase of the Autoroute 35 project,” Bonnardel said.
“In addition to creating short-term jobs, the work aimed at its extension will contribute to the economic development of the entire region. The completion of phase three will have positive repercussions both for the citizens of this sector and for trade and tourism in Quebec.”
Given the size of the project, it’s being split into two sections.
The first section will see the road built from Saint-Sébastien to Pike River. The government plans on issuing calls for tenders next summer, with the second section between Pike River and Saint-Armand constructed after a contractor is found.
Several local mayors attended the announcement. The mayor of Saint-Sébastien, Martin Thibert, said the project will ultimately make the road safer for commuters and residents.
“I used to be a firefighter, and unfortunately we saw a lot of deaths on that road,” he said. “This will make the road safer.”
Phase two of the project was completed in 2014.
The final phase, phase four, is expected to begin in 2023 and Bonnardel says it should be finished by 2025. That work would finally extend the Highway all the way to the American border. That section of the work includes about 4.5 km of highway.
Construction on Highway 35 began in the 1960s. The highway is supposed to link to Interstate 89 in Vermont creating a continuous highway between Montreal and Boston but Quebec never finished its side of the highway network.