NEWS

Highway 19 expansion plan called costly 'mistake'

09/23/2014 07:03 EDT | Updated 11/23/2014 05:59 EST
Critics are calling the Quebec government’s plan to expand Highway 19 a 'big mistake.'

The proposed $600-million project would see Highway 19 expanded to a full four lanes from the island of Montreal all the way to Highway 640 on the city’s north shore.

The plan is now the focus of a public consultation that began last night in Laval and continues Tuesday evening.

While the province says it would relieve congestion on Highway 335, critics of the plan say expanding public transit would be a better way to spend the province’s money.

“"Every dollar invested in public transit is worth three times more jobs or added value for the economy than what we invest in roads," Transit Alliance spokesman Philippe Cousineau-Morin told CBC News.

Given the huge cost of the project and the fact it will bring relief to around 10,000 commuters only, Cousineau-Morin called the proposed enlarging of Highway 19 a “big mistake.”

“One of the biggest I’ve seen,” he said.

Concerns were also expressed for the project’s environmental impact and its effect on the island of Montreal.

Projet Montreal City Councillor Craig Sauve said it will bring more cars to Montreal, and the Ahuntsic borough in particular.

"For sure there will be more traffic in Montreal, people will be trying to go and get past traffic using residential streets, and that worries people a lot especially in the Ahuntsic area," he told CBC News.

Sauvé said he hopes the province will reconsider the pricey plan, especially given shrinking municipal and provincial budgets.

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