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Baie-D’Urfé sound barrier project hits financial wall, is put on hold

Click to play video 'The construction of a much anticipated West Island sound barrier hits a roadblock' The construction of a much anticipated West Island sound barrier hits a roadblock
WATCH: The construction of a sound barrier on Surrey Street in Baie-D'Urfé is now on hold. – Dec 18, 2020

Residents of Baie-D’Urfé will not soon get relief from the sounds of Highway 20 as promised.

The town of Baie-D’Urfé has put a halt on the long-awaited sound barrier project due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

The Quebec Transport Ministry (MTQ) gave the green light to the project in January of 2019.

The plans were to construct a 12 foot tall, 915-meter long barrier along Surrey Drive that would stretch from Morgan Road to Apple Hill.

In a council meeting last week, Baie-D’Urfé Interim Mayor Heidi Ektvedt announced the funding for the project will be stopped and diverted to other infrastructure needs.

Ektvedt said due to COVID-19 the city would no longer be able to financially support the project in its future three-year capital spending budget.

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“It was a difficult decision to make,” Ektvedt said.

READ MORE: Beaconsfield in limbo over sound wall construction as it awaits MTQ report

“To me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, residents have been asking for this for years, ” Coun. Kevin Doherty said.

The MTQ quoted the project at an estimated $5.1 million, with the total value being split between the province and the town.

After closer inspection, the costs would increase, according to the city.

“We still don’t know the exact price,” Coun. Lynda Phelps said.

She also stressed the efficacy of the sound barrier saying, while it may reduce the sound of the Highway it will not mitigate the sound of the trains.

READ MORE: Côte-Saint-Paul residents endure unconventional sound wall

Issues surrounding the earth berm on which the wall would sit and drainage in the area would have increased the price tag of the project significantly, Coun. Andrea Gillpin said in the meeting.

“If you delay a project long enough of course its going to go up in cost,” Doherty responded.

Ektvedt said the berm was dated and did not meet MTQ code.

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The costs to fix the issues with the drainage on Surrey Drive will be at the cities expense.

Ektvedt said while the project may be postponed for now, it is not cancelled. The city would come back to the project at an undetermined later date.

The MTQ said it was aware of the towns’ decision but did not comment further.