Plans for the future Île-aux-Tourtes bridge do not include a lane reserved for buses, according to the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ).
The link connecting the western end of the island of Montreal with Vaudreuil-Dorion will have three lanes in either direction, like the current structure.
Additionally, four-meter-wide shoulders will span both sides of the lanes along with a pedestrian and bike path on the west side.
READ MORE: The new plans for the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge do not include space for REM, for now
“It’s just nonsense,” said Guy Pilon, mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion. “The ministry is 30 years behind on everything.”
Pilon said that this latest announcement from the MTQ about the future project is not the final proposal that was presented at the last meeting with the ministry.
Pilon said it is not getting what it promised, noting a detailed diagram of the proposed bridge with lanes reserved for additional buses heading both east and west.
“There is enough space for travelers. There is enough space for cars, buses and bicycles. Don’t think ill of eliminating a lane reserved for buses and taxis, ”Pilon said.
The MTQ said traffic studies show that reserved lanes are not necessary for the amount of daily congestion.
The province said a total of 86,000 vehicles use the bridge every day.
Ministry spokeswoman Sarah Bensadoun said buses will be allowed to use the shoulder when there is heavy traffic during peak hours.
“Buses can use the shoulder as a bypass shoulder and can reach their final destination,” said Bensadoun.
“This is the best solution we have for this area.”
Pilon argues that the shoulder is reserved for emergencies and is intended to alleviate traffic congestion.
If used by commuters, buses are forced back into all three lanes, back into traffic.
“If there’s nothing positive about him riding the bus, people will use their cars,” Pilon said.
READ MORE: Citizens push to extend REM light rail to Vaudreuil
Quebec Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau reaffirmed Monday that the REM will not be part of the future bridge project either.
There are currently no plans to include space for light rail on the bridge.
Instead, a corridor adjacent to the new structure has been reserved for an extension of REM or any other public transportation project.
“We conserve the space to build what could be a new mode of transportation in the future,” Rouleau said.
Pilon is concerned that the ministry has not taken into account the amount of traffic the future REM will generate on the bridge.
Travelers will be forced to use the bus instead of their cars to get to the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue station, as parking will be limited.
“I don’t know where they got their calculations from, but they missed a little thing called REM,” Pilon said.
The Transport Ministry said it is currently in talks with several potential developers as it continues to submit proposals.
A final signed contract is expected in winter 2023.
Depending on the project, Bensadoun said the future structure could be completed by 2028 or 2029 at the earliest.
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