Northward expansion expected to revitalize economy of Laval and North Shore region
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti, on behalf of federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Domenic Leblanc, and Québec Transport Minister and Minister responsible for l’Estrie François Bonnardel, were joined by Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer, at a November 19, 2021 press conference held in Laval to announce the extension of Autoroute 19 between Laval and Bois-des-Filion.
Dignitaries from all three levels of government, including ministers, Members of Parliament, Members of the National Assembly and mayors of municipalities directly or indirectly impacted by the much-awaited and highly-desired highway project were present in large numbers to mark this important historical moment heralding the addition of 10-km to Autoroute 19, also known as Autoroute Papineau, which crosses the Rivière des Prairies the Papineau-Leblanc Bridge connecting Montréal’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough to Duvernay in Laval.
After numerous years on hold, the project, begun in Eastern Laval, will relieve congestion between Montréal and Bois-des-Filion by widening Route 335 to three lanes, a continuation of A-19 from Autoroute 440 to the Athanase-David Bridge, spanning Rivière des Mille Îles. Currently, nearly 34,000-55,000 vehicles use the Athanase-David Bridge daily.
The lands reserved for the project were expropriated in 1973 in anticipation of a future extension of A-19. That extension is now a virtual reality.
The first phase will stretch the 19 between Laval and Bois-des-Filion. This initial stage covering the construction of the Saint-Saëns interchange in Laval, is scheduled to start immediately and run until 2023. Work on other segments of the extended highway will follow.
Québec and Ottawa funding
The federal government pledged $260.4 million for the work in 2019, based on $520.9 million in eligible project costs. The Government of Quebec has kicked in with $360 million. The entire project is estimated at $500-$600 million. The additions propose a new bridge east of the Athanase-David link, as well as new interchanges at Dagenais, des Laurentides, Mille Îles, and Adolphe-Chapleau.
The re-development of Autoroute 640 interchange, a 690-space incentive parking lot, and a terminus in the northeast quadrant of expressways 640 and 19 are also on the roster. Route 335 will be widened to three lanes in each direction, lanes for buses, electric vehicles and carpooling over the 10 kms between St. Martin Blvd. and Industriel in Bois-des-Filion. The project also provides for noise barriers, the redevelopment and extension of the multi-purpose path for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as refurbished roads between St. Martin Blvd. East and Autoroute 440.
With palpable enthusiasm reigning in the conference venue, David Lametti stated that he had never seen so many journalists and guests at a press conference, apparently well-impressed with the full house at the event. Amongst the many people present, he thanked Quebec Transport Minister Bonnardel, federal MPs Angelo Iacono (Alfred-Pellan) and Yves Robillard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin), and various North Shore mayors.
Lametti stated that he’s “proud of this first phase in the construction of efficient and safe roads and in contributing to the economy, and community life.” An apparent fan of the world’s most beautiful game, the minister pointed to soccer activities as an important part of community life that will be positively affected by the enhanced transport services the completed highway project will provide for residents of the region. “The outcome,” he concluded, “will be good jobs and business opportunities.”
Crucial role for Québec
Québec minister Bonnardel described the province’s crucial role in this massive project. “It is with great pleasure that I confirm the extension (widening) of Highway 19 between Laval and Bois-des-Filion,” he said. “Finally, we begin the work. It’s been 30-40 years in the making. This first step testifies to our government’s commitment to improve mobility in the suburbs of the metropolitan region, and to contribute to the region’s economic recovery. I had told my team that we wouldn’t hold a press conference until we had a site where you’re going to see tractors and workers about to start the work.”
In Laval, Auteuil will have a street reconstructed over a stretch of approximately 1.2 Km that will lead to the widening and reconstruction of the roadway structure, the addition of closed drainage and bicycle paths to be completed by 2023. It will also permit the construction of a section of the 19 northbound for 1.45 km, a multi-use path, west links for Saint-Saens East.
The bill for the Papineau Highway is $600 million. As for the other phases, 2022 will tell, since a timeline will be established to complete the intended project, according to Bonnardel.
Without exception, Minister Bonnardel emphasized the carbon neutrality of the entire project. This first segment will begin 2021 and last until 2023. ”There will also be a bus terminus (19 and 640), a bicycle lane and a sidewalk for pedestrians, and 1.2 kilometers of new street lights. This Phase 1 of the construction will cost $60 million which will be completed in 2023.” Minister Bonnardel thanked and gave credit to past ministers and politicians who were actively involved in moving this dossier forward.
Laval, others, on board
Recently-elected Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer, concurred with the Ministers, saying he was clearly thrilled that the project is finally on its way. “It’s been talked about for at least 40 years,” he stated, joking that “I probably wasn’t born yet (when it was first conceived). “Transport and congestion are a necessity that must be resolved and the importance of public transit in carrying out the work (is evident). We are no longer in the days of only building highways. You have to consider public transit and safety. I’m delighted that we are now thinking about pedestrians and cyclists when we build highways.”
In an earlier press conference, federal MP Mario Laframboise added his view of the announced project: “We have listened to the people and we are delivering the goods. Highway 19 is moving ahead, finally. Our government is proud to carry out a project that will support economic vitality, improve travel, reduce road congestion and thus give a better quality of life to the citizens of my region.”
Other voices have also welcomed the good news of this highway project, among them Christopher Skeete, Member of the National Assembly for Sainte-Rose: “Today’s announcement marks the start of a new chapter related to mobility in Laval and surroundings. It’s with great pride that welcome the unfolding of this project. The reconfiguration of the Saint-Saens interchange will improve the daily lives of people who use this very busy sector.”
In order to execute the work, partial or complete, there will be closures in the evening on Route 335, Saint-Saens Street East, and Perron Avenue in the upcoming weeks. The Quebec Ministry of Transport will advise in advance. Detour signposts, including a temporary intersection which will be built at the Route 335 intersection and Avenue des Perron.
This project was the subject of a commitment by the Government of Canada for a contribution of $260 million through the New Building Canada Fund, Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects.