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Future Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge plans don’t include reserved bus lanes

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WATCH: While a new Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge linking the western tip of the island of Montreal to Vaudreuil-Dorion is still years away, new plans for the future structure don't include reserved bus lanes. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, municipalities accuse the Transport Ministry of going off script – Nov 23, 2021

Plans for the future Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge don’t include a reserved bus lane, according to the Quebec Transport Ministry (MTQ).

The link connecting the western tip of the island of Montreal to Vaudreuil-Dorion will have three lanes running in either direction, like the current structure.

Additionally, four-metre wide shoulders will straddle the lanes along with a pedestrian and cycling path on the west portion.

READ MORE: New Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge plans don’t include space for REM — for now

“It’s simply nonsense,” said Guy Pilon, Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor. “The ministry is 30 years behind on everything.”

Pilon said this latest announcement by the MTQ on the future project is not the final proposal that was presented at the last meeting with the ministry.

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Pilon said he isn’t getting what was promised, pointing to a detailed diagram of the proposed bridge with additional reserved bus lanes heading both east and west.

“There is enough space for commuters. There is enough space for cars, buses and bicycles. Don’t do the bad thinking of removing a reserved lane for buses and taxis,” Pilon said.

The MTQ said traffic studies show the reserved lanes are not necessary for the amount of daily congestion.

The province said a total of 86,000 vehicles use the bridge each day.

Ministry spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun said buses will be permitted to use the shoulder when traffic is heavy during rush hours.

“Buses can use the shoulder as a bypass shoulder and can get to their final destination,” Bensadoun said.

“This is the best solution we have for this area.”

Pilon argues the shoulder is reserved for emergencies and is meant to relieve traffic congestion.

If it is being used by commuters, buses are forced to return to the three lanes, back into traffic.

“If there is nothing positive in the fact that you use the bus, people will use their cars,” Pilon said.

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READ MORE: Citizens push to extend REM light-rail train to Vaudreuil

Quebec junior transport minister Chantal Rouleau reaffirmed Monday that the REM will also not be a part of the future bridge project.

There are currently no plans to include room for the light-rail train on the bridge.

Instead, a corridor adjacent to the new structure has been reserved for an extension of the REM or any other public transit project.

“We preserved the space to build what could be in the future a new mode of transportation,” Rouleau said.

Pilon worries the ministry did not take into account the amount of traffic the future REM will generate on the bridge.

Commuters will be forced to use the bus instead of their cars to reach the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue station as parking will be limited.

“I don’t know where they get their calculation but they missed a little thing called the REM,” Pilon said.

The transport ministry said it is currently talking with a number of potential developers as it continues to field proposals.

A final signed contract is expected by the winter of 2023.

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Depending on the project, Bensadoun said the future structure could be completed by 2028 or 2029 at the earliest.

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