Future A-20 sound wall discussion headed in opposite directions

Anthony
Anthony Abbondanza
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Beaconsfield must pay half: Transport Quebec

The MTQ won’t budge from its equal cost sharing program, claiming the Beaconsfield south homes alongside Highway 20 were built after the transport authority carried out changes to the autoroute. 

With differing accounts of Beaconsfield’s transportation history, Transport Quebec (MTQ) and the local Citizens Sound Wall Committee (CSWC) are far from coming to an agreement to build a long-awaited noise barrier along Highway 20, within the city’s jurisdiction.

Mario St-Pierre, a spokesperson for the MTQ, told the Chronicle last week Quebec’s transport authority must maintain its equal cost sharing program towards a future sound wall because most homes in the southern sector of Beaconsfield were built after the highway’s predecessor, Route 2, was built.

The regional road was built in 1942, connecting Montreal to Ontario.

Though he agreed the autoroute was built in the early 40s, Derrick Pounds, chairman of the CSWC, said the “traffic lights at the time controlled the speed each way.”

But when the MTQ removed the traffic lights situated on the autoroute at St. Charles Boulevard and Woodland Avenue in 1970 and 1998, respectively, the agency, added Pounds, had the responsibility to address the impact of the changes.

The autoroute formally became known as Highway 20 in 1998, when the speed limit was increased from 70 km/h to 100 km/h, causing an increase in noise stemming from unimpeded traffic.

“They made major changes to accommodate the traffic coming in from Ile Perrot,” said Pounds, a resident of Sweetbriar Drive since 1963.

Now, it’s time for the MTQ to fully pay for the changes, he added.

There does, indeed, exist a precedent in which the MTQ has paid, in full, the cost of a sound wall in the West Island. In the late 80s, the transport agency built a sound wall along the highway, next to Cartier Avenue, after  the construction of a nearby interchange.

According to St-Pierre, the residents resided in their homes before the changes were made.

In Beaconsfield, 13 houses on Beaurepaire Drive – located just metres south of Highway 20 – were built before 1990 – before the speed increase to the highway. Three of the said homes were, in fact, built in the 60s before the removal of the traffic lights.

What’s worse is that at least 726 homes in Beaconsfield are subjected to a noise level over 55 decibels and that for 227 homes, the noise level is over 65 decibels – a number which must be mitigated according to an Oct. 2010 MTQ report.

@AAbbondanza1

Organizations: Citizens Sound Wall Committee

Geographic location: Beaconsfield, Quebec, Montreal Ontario Woodland Avenue Ile Perrot West Island Cartier Avenue

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