Montreal contractor paves around car, the internet laughs

An unpaved section of a Montreal street has become the subject of ridicule online and stirred controversy over how the city handles construction projects.

Contractor chose not to tow car because of looming construction strike

A patch of road on René-Lévesque Boulevard, near Montcalm Street, was left unpaved because of a parked car. (Simon Roberge/Facebook)

An unpaved section of a Montreal street has become the subject of ridicule online, stirring controversy over how the city handles construction projects.

Demix Construction, a contractor, has been repaving part of René-Lévesque Boulevard in time for the Formula E, an electric-car race that will take place on the streets on Montreal at the end of July.

On May 23, the day before the construction strike, workers went on a paving blitz and decided to pave around a car parked on René-Lévesque​ — near the corner of Montcalm Street — instead of towing it, according to the city. 

Signs and orange cones were set up to prevent parking, but "the driver of the vehicle most likely passed between two cones," said Anik de Repentigny, a spokeperson for the City of Montreal. 

The unpaved spot has now become an attraction for passersby as yet another Montreal construction-mishap-turned-laughing-stock online.

"It reflects the entire (Mayor Denis) Coderre administration," said Franç​ois Limoges, a city councillor with Projet Montréal. 

"It's improvised, it's botched and it's mismanaged."

"Tourists pass by, take pictures and put it on social media," he added. "This kind of improvisation doesn't help Montreal at all.

The car was gone, but the patch of road on René-Lévesque Boulevard was still unpaved on Tuesday. (Benjamin Shingler/CBC)

Several tourists passing by the spot on Tuesday seemed to agree.

"Looks pretty shoddy," Andrew Crecilius, visiting from Indianapolis, said with a laugh.

"I've never seen this in Toronto. Never," said Lino Tomanelli, a former Montrealer now living in Toronto. 

A passerby takes a photo of a section of René-Levesque Blvd. left unpaved because of a parked car. (CBC)

Demix Construction said it will resume work once the strike is over and will complete the paving project in time for the race.

Back-to-work legislation passed by the provincial government is set to come into effect on Wednesday.

The city added that last week's rushed asphalt job was just a base coat and would not compromise the quality of work.

But Limoges begs to differ.

"The roads are broken," he said. 

"Everything is old. We need quality work, not one-centimetre pavement for a race that no one cares about. This won't hold more than a few months if not a few weeks."

With files from Navneet Pall


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