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Sound barrier costs soar for Highway 20 project in Quebec


September 11, 2020
By Rock to Road Staff

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The costs of constructing a sound barrier along a five-kilometre stretch of Highway 20 in Beaconsfield, Que., has increased by 127 per cent, according to a pre-project study commissioned by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ).

That takes the cost from $20.5 million to $46.6 million.

“This is a substantial increase considering that the MTQ’s pre-project study is only at the preliminary stage. Yet five years ago, the minister at that time had guaranteed that there would be no cost overrun, and the budget would be respected,” says Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.

In 2015, Beaconsfield had reached an agreement with the then minister that the city would contribute 25 per cent — or about $5 million.

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“This was already a major commitment for our city considering the relative impact of such an expense on our budget,” says Bourelle.

Since the beginning of the project, the mayor has called for a citizen’s consultation and approval for financial participation of the city in view of its “sanitary, geographic and financial impact,” the city said in a press release.

“The skyrocketing costs make the social acceptability of this project even more difficult,” says Bourelle.

According to a survey conducted among citizens, the community is deeply polarized on the pertinence of the wall and the cost-sharing between districts, the city said.

The preliminary pre-project study shows that the wall with a height of four to 4.5 metres, erected from east to west, will allow for a noise reduction varying between seven to 13 decibels. Current noise levels vacillate between 63 to 71 decibels over 24 hours. In its policy on traffic noise adopted in 1998, the MTQ acknowledges its share of responsibility regarding sound pollution generated by road traffic. The MTQ has committed to intervening if the anticipated reduction by mitigation measures is at least seven decibels.

Bourelle and city council are asking MTQ officials to present the project in a public meeting once the final report is ready.