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Beaconsfield sound wall cost estimate more than doubles in ‘skyrocketing increase’

The estimated price for the Beaconsfield sound wall has more than doubled.
The estimated price for the Beaconsfield sound wall has more than doubled. Brayden Jagger Haines / Global News

The estimated price to build the long-awaited sound wall along Highway 20 in Beaconsfield, Que., is more than doubling.

That’s according to the results of a technical report conducted by Quebec’s Transport Ministry (MTQ) which was first put into motion in 2018 but faced several delays.

The cost has gone from an estimated $20.5 million to $46.6 million.

“To get a $46.6 million report on cost estimate at the present time, it’s flabbergasting,” said Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.

“It’s a skyrocketing increase in cost.”

Click to play video 'Beaconsfield still far from getting long-awaited sound wall' Beaconsfield still far from getting long-awaited sound wall
Beaconsfield still far from getting long-awaited sound wall

The MTQ says costs went up because they ran a more exhaustive study.

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“What we did in 2010 was not a full study, it was the first step to verify if there was a need to add a sound-proof wall,” said Sarah Bensadoun, a spokesperson for Transports Quebec.

“Ten years later a lot of things have changed and we have to take into consideration different elements of the project and not only the construction.”

Read more: Beaconsfield in limbo over sound wall construction as it awaits MTQ report

Bensadoun added that the study found certain public utilities need to be moved, it also takes into account the maintenance of traffic flow and the technology used in sound-proof walls has changed in the past decade.

“That does have also an impact on the cost,” Bensadoun said.

Residents who live near Highway 20 have been pushing to have a sound wall built for decades.

The wall would measure an estimated five kilometres and stretch across all of Beaconsfield along Beaurepaire Drive.
Beaconsfield would foot 25 per cent of the bill, with the remaining 75 per cent covered by the ministry, an agreement made in 2010.

In spite of several delays, people had hoped that the long awaited wall would be built in 2021.

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But the new cost throws a wrench in the plans.

Bourelle says the skyrocketing increase surprised him.

“Extremely surprised,” he said.

READ MORE: Beaconsfield residents rally together to explore options on sound wall barrier

The mayor says it will be up to residents to decide whether they want to go ahead with the project at public consultations.

“It’s too important a financial decision for Beaconsfield so the residents who will pay for it will decide,” Bourelle said.

For Beaconsfield resident Michel Rheault, the wall needs to be built, saying it’s a matter of health.

“We ha​ve four schools, primary and high school, and we have a kindergarten a few blocks from here. All these kids live within 250 metres from the highway, they’re getting more (hearing) impaired by the day and the mayor wants to consult?” Rheault said.

“This is unbelievable.”

READ MORE: Baie-D’Urfé gets green light to build long-awaited sound barrier

For now, Bourelle says the city is still discussing the details of the report with Transports Quebec.

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Once they have a final report, Bourelle says the city will ask the ministry to present the project to residents during an information session.

Click to play video 'Small development in Beaconsfield sound wall' Small development in Beaconsfield sound wall
Small development in Beaconsfield sound wall

— With files from Global’s Brayden Jagger-Haines