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Bonaventure Expressway to become boulevard with green corridor

Montreal’s Bonaventure Expressway is set to transform into a modern boulevard with a green corridor by 2029.

When it comes to the main gateway to the city, federal Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez doesn’t mince his words.

“It’s pretty ugly,” Rodriguez said without hesitation. “And I can think we could do better.”

Rodriguez is putting his money where his mouth is.

The federal government announced $282 million Tuesday to dismantle and reconfigure the current structure.

“I think this is something that people will enjoy,” Rodriguez said.

The expressway was built just ahead of Expo 67. It has now reached the end of its lifespan.

Officials say they need to rebuild it and bring it into the 21st century.

One of the goals is to give Montrealers more access to the river.

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“You still have the three lanes on each side, but they’ll be moved, like, 100 feet from the water,” Rodriguez said.

The green corridor will feature two dedicated active mobility paths and a nearly 2.5-kilometre pedestrian promenade.

To do that, Carrie-Derick street will disappear.

By becoming a boulevard, the Bonaventure will feature traffic lights and the speed will be reduced from 70 km/h to 50 km/h per hour.

Although there are 20 million trips per year on the busy expressway, officials don’t believe the new plan will slow traffic down.

“Our studies are telling us that we are OK with three lanes by direction,” said Sandra Martel, CEO of the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI).

The work will kick off in 2025 and is expected to last four years.

Officials acknowledge rebuilding the Bonaventure will create traffic headaches for commuters.

They plan to keep two lanes open at all times to reduce the pain.

“What would Montreal be without pain and without roadwork?” traffic analyst Rick Leckner said.

Leckner says the short-term pain will lead to long-term gain.

“I think it’s a decent price to pay for the benefits…. Environmentally, appeal, mobility of people in the area and moving the roadway away from the St. Lawrence River, I think those are all positives,” Leckner said.

Montrealers will know if it was all truly worth it when construction wraps up in 2029.

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