The Quebec government is recommending the new Champlain Bridge have express bus lanes when it opens in 2018.
Transport Minister Robert Poeti had until the end of June to tell Ottawa what form of public transit the province prefers on the new span, linking the island of Montreal to the South Shore.
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Poeti said Thursday that he is not convinced a light rail train is the best option. He says estimates suggest a commuter would only save about three minutes in crossing the bridge by train compared to taking an express bus.
Leave room for trains: Poeti
Poeti said he wants to leave his options open — which is why he said he will ask Ottawa to install a hybrid roadway on the new Champlain Bridge.
A hybrid road, the minister said, would allow express buses to run across the span when it opens in 2018, and would also allow the eventual installation of a light rail track.
Poeti said he will make up his mind next year after consulting various partners, looking at estimated costs and after the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) submits its formal recommendation.
Montreal city councillors voted unanimously to recommend the light rail system to the provincial government.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre called Poeti’s announcement “good news.”
“The good news is that they are saying ‘Prepare the bridge accordingly.’ I’ve said from the beginning that we are for the light rail system, but there will be a transitionary period. It’s certain there will have to be buses in the beginning,” Coderre said.