Road crews working on Highway 40 in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue are doing preparatory work for the highway’s reconstruction, not rebuilding the crumbling overpasses at Blvd. des Anciens Combattants that have been closed since March 2011.
—- @Body:Although excavators could be seen tearing up the westbound Highway 40 service lane at Blvd. des Anciens Combattants last week, that work was related to the $10-million project that will see Highway 40 rebuilt over the next two summers from Senneville to Kirkland.
—- At this point, the reconstruction of the Highway 40 overpasses at Exit 41 remains the subject of ongoing negotiations between the province and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, said Transport Quebec spokeswoman Caroline Larose on Monday.
—- “There is no work on the overpasses at this time nor on the roundabout,” Larose said.
—- Earlier this fall, it was announced a technical study would look at the possibility of building a roundabout to replace the overpasses, but that study is not yet complete.
—- “What they are doing right now is a temporary service road for the autoroute,” confirmed Francis Deroo, the mayor of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.
—- Deroo said Ste-Anne officials and representatives from the office of Quebec’s new transport minister, Sylvain Goudreau, met in early-November to discuss how the overpasses will be replaced and who will pay for the work that needs to be done.
—- But he said no agreement was reached at that meeting and another meeting was scheduled for early-December.
—- The future of the now-closed project remains a subject of interest to thousands of local Ste-Anne residents and thousands more West Island motorists who use des Anciens Combattants to get between Highways 20 and 40.
—- Transport Quebec statistics indicate about 87,000 cars travel on Highway 40 every day between Senneville and Kirkland.
—- Last week, Quebec announced in its provincial budget that it plans to cut infrastructure spending by $1.5 billion per year, a move that will affect the timeline of numerous projects involving Quebec roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
—- Transport Quebec’s Larose said it is still unknown how the announced cuts will affect the timetable of dozens of projects, including the Ste. Anne de Bellevue overpasses.
—- She explained the provincial government’s capital investment program will only be made public in February or March. The program will outline the government’s infrastructure priorities for 2013-14.
—- However, she noted, it does not mean that a project is cancelled if it does not appear in the capital investment program this year. In order to reduce infrastructure spending by $1.5 billion annually, she explained, the Quebec government will spread projects slated for the next five years over a 10-year period instead.