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Residents are losing patience with delays of a new bridge over Ill Bizard Achi-News

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Residents are losing patience with delays of a new bridge over Ill Bizard

 Achi-News

Achi news desk-

Ile Bizard’s newly elected mayor, Doug Hurley, is a retired police chief who says Montreal hasn’t properly addressed how traffic is managed for the 18,000 people who live in his borough.

The city is building a new bridge to replace the current bridge, which has reached the end of its life. But the construction work has dramatically reduced the flow of traffic without an alternative route to reach the island.

“That basically means if you’re a resident here between the hours of about 3:30 and 6:30 at night, you’re going to be delayed for 20 minutes to almost 50 minutes in traffic for about 300 yards, which is ridiculous,” he said.

The Jacques-Bezard Bridge is the only way on or off the island. A police officer at each end of the bridge now directs traffic but the mayor says that is no longer enough, especially for pedestrian safety.

“The problem is that cars (drivers) are getting impatient. They are cutting through pedestrians,” he said, adding that he feared a tragedy could occur.

Harley is asking the city to force the contractor to find a way to open two lanes during rush hour and add more traffic officers. Former Borough Councilman Robert Samuszewski, who was part of Valerie Plante’s administration, agrees that the city has not kept its promise to provide better traffic flow.

“I don’t understand why they dropped the ball. And basically that’s what it is for me. We need more police directing the traffic,” Samoshevsky said.

Hurley says the police department regularly assigns cadets — who enroll in the police academy without ticketing authority — and says aggressive drivers often ignore them. But the city of Montreal says it can’t do much right now.

The city engineers claim that opening two lanes is simply not an option. A major part of the road works will be completed at the end of May, which will probably allow the opening of another lane.

But what is even more frustrating for people from El Bizard is that construction of the new bridge was supposed to be completed this year. Unfortunately, engineers ran into a major problem while the work was being done – they would have to reinstall a pillar, which is expected to delay the project for up to a year.

The local residents had had enough.

“With all of this, we’re thinking about selling the house and all,” the boy’s mother told CTV News as they left a local store.

Businesses also suffer because of traffic and detours. A bakery owner who would only identify himself as Giuseppe says the bypass effect has reduced business in a nearby strip mall by 40 percent.

But there is another headache ahead. An international golf tournament, the President’s Cup, will be held in September at the Royal Montreal Golf Club, located on Ile Bizard. It is expected to attract golf fans, stars and celebrities from around the world.

“I won’t just have 18,000 [residents]. I’ll have 30,000 more people a day coming to the island,” Hurley said.

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