PQ puts Liberal-approved road projects on hold

About 10 infrastructure projects in Quebec will be suspended because of what appears to be a lack of planning by the former Liberal leadership.
The Parti Québécois government claims the Liberal government announced a number of infrastructure projects without planning for their funding, Radio-Canada has learned. (Timothy Neesam/CBC)

The Parti Québécois government is re-examining 8 infrastructure projects worth $2.5 billion approved by the former provincial Liberal government, accusing the former leadership of failing to plan for the funding of the projects.

Now the PQ says there money left in the budget to go ahead with the work, confirmed Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudrault.

"My intention is to demonstrate the lack of accountability of the previous government, which made announcements for purely electoral reasons," said Gaudrault.

One of several projects in question is the extension of Highway 19 in Bois-des-Filion – announced in 2010 by former premier Jean Charest.

Radio-Canada reports that according to sources, the project, which was  expected to be finished by 2015, could take several more years due to delays in the completion of feasibility studies and the unanticipated need for the construction of a secondary bridge.

The work has been put off until at least 2020, said Bois-des-Filion mayor Paul Larocque.

Radio-Canada reports that no budget was set aside for the new bridge, which could cost up to $41 million according to a 2009 estimate.

Road projects put on hold

  • Highway 19 between Laval and Bois-des-Fillion.
  • New interchange off Highway 40 in Montreal's West Island.
  • Second phase of Highway 410 in Sherbrooke.
  • Work on Highway 20 between Trois-Pistoles and Bic.
  • Work on Highway 35 between Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and the U.S. border.
  • Construction on Highway 70 in the Saguenay.
  • Work on Route 185 in the Témiscouata region.
  • Work on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal.

Another project that is being re-examined is plans for a new interchange off Highway 40 In Pierrefonds-Roxboro on Montreal's West Island.

The Liberal government announced in August it would invest $50 million for the project, but once again, the PQ said the funding was not accounted for in the budget.

Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough Mayor Monique Worth said if the ministry of transport was unprepared for the project, they neglected to share that fact with the public.

Liberal transport critic and former transport minister Julie Boulet defended the previous government's actions saying it is not unusual that the funding wasn't budgeted for because preliminary studies had not been completed and so final cost projections were not available.

The PQ will present its own infrastructure plan for the next decade this spring. Officials are expected to confirm at that time which of the projects put on ice will go ahead, but Gaudrault said some will be delayed.