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This week brings the closing of the Cornwall Bridge for demolition and reconstruction by the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), which has exclusive control over the structure. The new bridge will be ready in early 2021. This is clearly the most disruptive stage of the infrastructure project being carried out in Town centre. And it’s a lot to swallow, coming, as it does, on top of the pandemic-related challenges we’re already dealing with this spring. Unfortunately, it’s also unavoidable, a provincial government project that we simply have to accept.

That said, it is also true that, given the confinement and distancing measures required by the pandemic and the somewhat slower and more subdued pace of life in town these days, starting work on the project now may not be such a bad idea. Depends on your point of view.

The impact on traffic will be immediate, of that there can be no doubt. Only the Laird-Graham Bridge, which belongs to the Town, will be open to traffic in the months to come – and it will have to handle all the pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and public transit users crossing the railway. A logistical challenge – not to mention a tight squeeze – but one we will overcome thanks to sound planning.

Several announcements were made last week about the detours in effect, the newly created temporary parking spaces and the relocated bus stops. I encourage you to check the maps prepared by the Town and the information published by the REM project. Most of all, I encourage you to carefully plan your trips and allow time for delays: Town centre is almost certain to be congested.

One big upside remains: when the project is done, we will not only have a new bridge but also gain a new, green and welcoming public space above the rails. Announced in August of last year, this new plaza is about to become a reality.

In short, a Town of Mount Royal that is even greener, functions better and has improved connections to the Montreal public transit system awaits us on the other side of the project. Until then, we have a big step to take and challenges to endure. Remember: the reward when the Cornwall Bridge work is done is substantial. And not long after, when the tunnel reopens, this episode will be nothing but a distant memory.

Earlier this spring, many of you answered our call to buy locally and encourage Mount Royal businesses. During the Cornwall Bridge project, the Town will introduce a series of measures in support of Town Centre merchants. Now more than ever, they will need your patronage. Please do all you can!

Philippe Roy

Mayor

90 Roosevelt Avenue

Mont-Royal H3R 1Z5