The city of Montreal and the Quebec government say they're starting the ball rolling to cover up at least the first part of the Ville Marie expressway in time for the city's 375th anniversary celebrations in 2017.
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, leader of the official opposition at city hall Richard Bergeron and Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poeti made the joint announcement this afternoon.
They said the plan for now is to cover up the Ville marie expressway between the new CHUM superhospital at Sanguinet and Hôtel-de-Ville Avenue, that includes the area around Champ-de-Mars metro. It's a 125 meter stretch out of the total 500 meters included in the entire first phase of the project. The plan is to create a public square on that 125 meter section that would become a healthcare hub.
Poeti said his government is committed to investing a maximum $100-million for this first phase, with the city expected to pitch in 45 to 70 million.
They're still awaiting feasibility studies and public consultations on what to build on top of the rest of the expressway once it's covered.
But Coderre said it's important for both levels of government to make the commitment to the project.
"We are clearly in the mode to make it happen and that's the news today. The money is there, the will is there, we have the vision attached to it," Coderre told reporters at a news conference at city hall.
Bergeron will be in charge of the public consultation process, much like what is being done for the Ste Catherine Street revitilization project.