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MUHC access
McQueen fighting to keep Decarie open
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 2 décembre 2010
Photo Marie Cicchini
Peter McQueen shows that the sewer pipe is not underneath Decarie Blvd.

Peter McQueen is questioning a “secretive” decision awarding a $255,000 contract to Signotech Inc. to manage road signage and traffic flow around the MUHC sewer work project on Decarie Blvd. between St. Jacques St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd.

Signotec Inc. was indeed the lowest bidder, but the NDG councillor was unable to obtain the contract or bid specifications at the last Urban Agglomeration Council meeting.

Projet Montreal intends to go through the Access to Information process to find out exactly how much taxpayers are paying for the work on Decarie Blvd. McQueen wants to see if it’s worth four times his salary and wants a say on future expenditures. “This really affects me as NDG district councillor,” he said to the local press during a recent tour of the site.

The access road has to be moved while Decarie is being widened next year. But the councillor still doubts that a $255,000 expense to relocate street lights, install stop signs and paint line markings every few weeks is justified. He sees a multitude of reasons why Decarie Blvd. could stay open while the sewer work gets done.

The sewer reconstruction project started at Decarie and Crowley. The insertion well has been dug about three meters away from the road, where sections of sewer pipe will be inserted one at a time in the tunnel running alongside Decarie, rather than underneath the road, towards the CP railway overpass.

“When the sections of sewer pipe arrive one at a time every week and are lowered into the hole, one lane could be closed for half a day, a weekend, or at night. So what’s the point of paying $255,000 to close Decarie?” asks McQueen.

Reconstruction of the railway overpass is scheduled to start in the spring. Closing Decarie over the winter will just make matters worse, when snowstorms hit and bikes are stored for the winter.

If Decarie is closed, 900 construction workers commuting into the area morning and night will adversely affect residents of Crowley St. and Prud’homme Ave. The detour can wait until the reconstruction of the CP railway overpass next year, according to McQueen.

He says the solution to traffic problems should be to convince Westmount Mayor Peter Trent to open the Westmount emergency access road to the Glen Yards construction site. With this road closed the only access to the site is from the west via Decarie Blvd.

Early in November, the NDG Community Council wrote a letter to Minister of Health Yves Bolduc, reminding the government that municipal bylaws don’t apply to the Quebec government, and that Westmount residents will be using the MUHC super-hospital as well.

They are hoping for a National Assembly decree to open up the Westmount emergency road, and thereby lessen the impact of the construction site on the less wealthy residents of NDG.

Michael Applebaum disagrees with McQueen about the need to close Décarie. “Richard Bergeron was on the Executive Committee. He was explained all the dossiers about the MUHC hospital. Once again, it’s Peter McQueen trying to make an issue out of something that is a normal procedure. There’s no question it has to be closed. It’s on public domain, and for the security reasons for the workers, for the people in the area, the street is closed.”

[Marie Cicchini]

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