Same plan, different timing for Liberals and CAQ promising 3rd Quebec City–Lévis link

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard held a Saturday morning news conference to talk about his party's transportation plans for the Quebec City region.

The two parties have opposing ideas of just when construction might begin

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard took shots at his opponent François Legault and U.S. President Donald Trump Saturday, saying Trump does not know how to negotiate. (Radio-Canada)

Liberal leader Philippe Couillard and Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault agree that there is need for a third link between Quebec City and its south shore suburbs. But they don't agree on the timeline.

While Legault has committed to beginning construction by 2020, Couillard said that's a fantasy.

"How can they seriously tell the public of Quebec City, looking them in the eyes, that we are going to turn the sod for this project in the first mandate?" Couillard said at a news conference Saturday.

Couillard said the issue must be studied to determine the best location for the new crossing, and once the best choice is made, there must be an environmental evaluation of the project and engineering studies.

Optimistically, he said, that means the project could not start before 2026.

The third crossing, to supplement the existing Quebec Bridge and the Pierre-Laporte Bridge, is a major project for the decades, even the century to come, said Couillard. It's unclear right now whether the third link would come in the form of a bridge or a tunnel.

"We are talking about billions of dollars," he added.

Engineering experts have identified five possible crossing points, four of them to the east of the two existing bridges, the fifth to the west.

These five areas are being considered for a third link, be it a tunnel or a bridge. (Government of Quebec)

That choice will be narrowed to three, before a final crossing point is chosen.

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume, noting that now the destination of most people crossing to Quebec City from Lévis to work or study, is to the west, has said he favours the westerly route.

Neither Québec solidaire nor the Parti Québécois have expressed the same enthusiasm for the project during the campaign.

'Real vision of development'

Couillard said Saturday that Quebec City has a prosperous economy and a growing population, and needs a comprehensive transport plan.

That includes the third crossing, but also a new transit system, such as the tramway proposal Labeaume favours, and rebuilding of the existing roads network.

Speaking in English, the Liberal leader said when it comes to transportation and mobility, "the Quebec Liberal Party is the only party to have a real vision of development."

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