• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion pledges support to Ste. Anne’s for Highway 20 completion


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor said the completion of Highway 20 would ease the current traffic congestion by helping to keep big rig trucks off of Harwood Blvd.

Vaudreuil-Dorion has formally announced its support of Ste. Anne de Bellevue and the recent efforts made by the municipality to pressure the provincial government to complete the long-awaited extension of Highway 20 which currently becomes an urban boulevard with a speed limit of 50 km/hr as it traverses the town.

A motion was adopted during the Vaudreuil-Dorion council meeting on April 1 that recognized Ste. Anne’s initiatives that brought the issue of the unfinished extension to public attention.

Joint approach

Vaudreuil-Dorion’s support is in response to a request made by Ste. Anne’s to the 23 municipalities of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC to take a joint approach with the provincial Ministry of Transport to prioritize the completion of Highway 20. This has a direct impact on the local road network and on the safety and quality of life for residents living in the MRC-VS and on the Island of Montreal.

Last September, Ste. Anne’s Mayor Paola Hawa made a controversial decision with the support of council to prohibit left lane turns onto the Highway 20 West onramp on weekday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. because of concerns for accessibility for emergency vehicles. It was also meant to highlight the traffic situation that overwhelmed the municipality each weekday as a result of the incompletion of Highway 20.

Gridlock eliminated

Instead of exacerbating an already bad situation, the traffic jam and backlog of vehicles that was common each weekday afternoon at the intersection to Highway 20 and throughout the side streets was significantly reduced. It meant that emergency vehicles could reach the South sector of the city unimpeded.

“It’s phenomenal. It worked out super well, better than we could even have imagined,” said Hawa.

The tactic was also meant to let the provincial government know about the traffic situation that Ste. Anne’s and its neighbouring off-island municipalities on Île-Perrot and Vaudreuil-Dorion have to endure each weekday because the highway that was initially proposed in 1964 still hasn’t been properly completed.

A louder voice

“I’m glad they came on board,” said Hawa. “We started the conversation and have given it a louder voice. I’m glad we’re all speaking together and pushing in the same direction. It’s part of a bigger issue. We’ve developed the territory without really seeing into the future. When you’re building something you have to make sure you’re thinking 10 to 20 years into the future.”

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said the traffic situation is a mess on Highway 20, especially during the weekday morning and afternoon commutes. More than that, the city’s resolution stated the current situation seriously affects the flow of traffic and quality of life for its citizens.

Detrimental to economy

The resolution also noted that the unfinished section of Highway 20 in Vaudreuil-Soulanges is located in the heart of the Quebec-Ontario trade corridor, which is highly detrimental to the province’s economy and logistical transportation network because of the large volume of trucks which use Harwood Boulevard each day.

Pilon said the traffic situation on Harwood would improve tremendously if the Highway 20 project was completed. “It would be huge. Imagine if you didn’t have any traffic lights on the 20. It’s blocked every night because of the lights. It’s the only place in Canada where the national highway still has traffic lights.”

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