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New Jacques-Bizard Bridge not enough to ease West Island traffic woes

Work is already well underway for the construction of the new Jacques-Bizard Bridge, which is expected to improve the commute for Île-Bizard residents.

It’s supposed to be ready for 2025 and will replace the existing one, built 55 years ago.

“Getting a new bridge is something that’s absolutely needed,” Île-Bizard mayor-elect Doug Hurley said. “We’ll be going from three lanes to four lanes, which will obviously facilitate the access on and off the island.”

But building this new structure has once again brought into focus an ongoing problem: traffic congestion when drivers enter the Island of Montreal from Île-Bizard.

“If we’re talking about the ideal situation it would be able to leave Île-Bizard and go all the way down to Autoroute 40,” Hurley said.

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Right now drivers crossing the bridge from Île-Bizard to Montreal are forced to turn, either east on Pierrefonds Boulevard to Saint-Jean, south, or west to Saint-Charles, south, adding to congestion. What local mayors want is for commuters to be able to continue south on Jacques-Bizard Boulevard to get to Highway 40.

“The concern is always traffic in that area, particularly on the north-south arteries,” Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough mayor Dimitrios Jim Bais said. His borough borders that of Île-Bizard to the south.

“We know that the three that we have right now — Saint-Charles, Saint-Jean and Sources boulevards — don’t have the capacity.”

He and the other local mayors say a fourth artery to Highway 40 from the bridge would help.

Having such a road would impact other municipalities such as Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Kirkland and Pointe-Claire. Tim Thomas, mayor of Pointe-Claire, believes the artery shouldn’t end at Highway 40, but continue to the Lakeshore Hospital.

“All citizens coming from different parts of the West Island could get directly to the hospital,” he said. “If we had a public transit-only corridor — you know, coming from the Jacques Bizard extension all the way down to Lakeshore General — it would help the citizens of Pointe-Claire get to the REM (light rail system).”

Not everyone thinks any extension from the bridge should be reserved for public transit and the form it would take still isn’t clear — the mayors are discussing options. One possible short-term solution they’re considering is to allow drivers to continue south from the bridge past Pierrefonds Boulevard to de Salaberry.

With a PGA golf tournament coming to Île-Bizard next year, local authorities say the City of Montreal needs to do something — fast.


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