My name is Guy Pilon, I am the mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion. Minister Bonnardel, a 7 km section of Highway 20 is the only section of this pan-canadian infrastructure to be constrained by traffic lights. This “urban boulevard” which spans Vaudreuil-Dorion and île Perrot receives not only 50,000 motorists daily, but also 75% of traded goods by Quebec with Ontario and the United States.
Photo Mathis Denis
The weakness of this configuration is apparent with the emergency closure of the Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge. Highway 20, which is already stagnant, must accommodate most of the 87,000 motorists who use this bridge serving as a link between Vaudreuil-Dorion and the Island of Montreal. Remember, 15,000 heavy trucks cross the Quebec-Ontario border daily in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
Unfortunately, this is not a surprise. It is often said that the bridge is at the end of its life. It would be more apt to say that it is being kept alive artificially. Built from 1962 to 1965 (like the old Champlain Bridge), the bridge has already required $ 110.4 million in maintenance work. The Ministry of Transportation of Quebec (MTQ) plans to have to inject $ 172.4 million into it by 2031 to keep it in service before the construction of a new bridge. Of this amount, work of $ 23 million was only planned for 2021.
The connections with the old Champlain Bridge are obvious. In fact, hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent there before the reconstruction.
My dismay is amplified by the emphasis that local elected officials have shown in recent years for the MTQ to be proactive in managing transportation in our region. More specifically, a commitment was made some 50 years ago by the government to manage the completion of Highway 20. We are still waiting. This lack of vision and planning will waste precious hours for many residents who have no choice but to travel to the Island of Montreal for work.
That’s not to mention the productivity losses and greenhouse gases generated by cars idling for miles.
Since the election of the current government, I have expressed my annoyance in seeing the MTQ favor the completion of Highway 35 near the Canada-US border. I suppose that this work is benefiting a fraction of the number of users who use Highway 20 in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.
Another recent example to add insult to the injury. According to various projections, the third link in the Capitale-Nationale will be used by a maximum of 15,000 motorists. In this case, the government did not hesitate to budget for an expenditure of $ 10 billion. Again, this is a fraction of the daily flow on the Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge and Highway 20.
Finally, remember that in recent months, the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion has proposed a simple layout that could be implemented quickly for its portion of the “urban boulevard”. This, at the very least, would have ensured more fluidity in the current situation. The MTQ seems to have postponed the project indefinitely, with the results we are seeing.