Ottawa

CAQ not ready to fund Highway 50 widening

The Coalition Avenir Québec's minister for the Outaouais says his government hasn't been able to move as fast as they'd like to widen a key highway between Montreal and Gatineau.

Work on undivided highway still needs more planning, minister says

Mathieu Lacombe lays out the CAQ's Outaouais roadwork plan on March 11, 2019. (Radio-Canada)

The Coalition Avenir Québec's minister for the Outaouais says his government hasn't been able to move as fast as they'd like to widen a key connection between Montreal and Gatineau.

During the election campaign that saw them seize power for the first time, the CAQ promised to "champion" widening Highway 50 to make it more safe.

However, not a single dollar of the CAQ's $160-million Outaouais road plan for 2019 to 2021 will go toward that work, Papineau MNA Mathieu Lacombe said Monday.

He said the plans are still being drawn up and the government isn't ready to set money aside.

"Lots of things have been said, but the planning and moving ahead [of the project] may not have been as advanced as [the previously governing] Liberals suggested," Lacombe said in a French-language interview.

"We're committed to transparency when giving a timeline, and that's why I want to say that there are still certain administrative barriers that stop us from going as fast as we'd like."

A section of Highway 50 in western Quebec where the roadway narrows. (CBC)

In the short term, Lacombe said, the only safety improvements drivers may notice is a new barrier between the east and west lanes of Highway 50 near Buckingham in east Gatineau, where it currently narrows.

That seven-kilometre stretch could be widened starting in late 2020, but that work would be funded separately.

Alonzo-Wright Bridge work in 2021

Of the $160 million in the Outaouais road plan, half is going to pavement maintenance.

Nearly $50 million will be spent on inspections, and the rest — about $30 million — will go to improving the security and efficiency of the road network through projects like culvert repairs.

Another major infrastructure project, widening the Alonzo-Wright Bridge connecting La Vérendrye Boulevard and Highway 105 in Gatineau, is expected to start in 2021.

With files from Rachel Gaulin

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