Montreal will now require a “traffic maintenance plan” from contractors who wish to obtain a permit to carry out work on its major arteries. The City also wants to impose a maximum deadline of 12 hours to install and dismantle the signage around the work, in addition to increasing the value of the statements of offense issued by the Mobility Squad.

These are some of the proposals that were made by the mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, as a curtain raiser for the Summit on construction sites on Thursday. “We can agree to talk about the problem. It’s not so much the construction sites as such, but everything that surrounds them: the cones, the obstacles, the communication with the partners, the citizens, the boroughs and, of course, the City,” Ms. Plante admitted.

His administration says it will “from now on require a traffic maintenance plan as a condition of obtaining a priority arterial permit.” In other words, it will be necessary to leave at least one traffic lane in each direction.

“We need to have better coordination to ensure that a street as important as Notre-Dame, for example, remains accessible”, raised Ms. Plante, acknowledging that “the boroughs almost automatically issue the permits that concern their territory”.

This plan presented by the contractors must “include the space occupied and the detours anticipated”, and “will be the subject of an analysis by the City before the issuance of the permit”. The authorities want to involve the Central Road Network Infrastructure Service (SIRR) in the granting of permits that affect the city center, major arteries and sensitive sectors “to have an overview”.

During a technical presentation on Thursday, the director of the SIRR, Nathalie Martel, also confirmed that 55,000 permits were granted in 2022, of which 42% came from the City of Montreal, 34% from the private sector and 20% of “public utility companies” such as Hydro-Quebec. “The City does work on about 1,000 streets annually, but it is not the only one,” argued Ms. Martel.

Solutions must also be found to combat the “significant number of ghost construction sites” in Montreal, says Valérie Plante. “If a borough gives a five-day permit, it’s not normal to see a sidewalk blocked for three weeks,” she recalls.

Montreal wants to set in motion a “maximum delay of 12 hours” for the installation and dismantling of construction site signage, in order to “free up public roads and occupied sidewalks more quickly”.

As La Presse reported last week, the City also proposes “to grant additional powers to its Mobility Squad”. The organization could now “demobilize inactive sites and withdraw occupancy permits from the public domain after two unjustified notices of inactivity”.

According to our information, the Squad will soon obtain several additional staff, in particular via former employees of the Bureau du taxi, which was dismantled in December. At the same time, the City will centralize all the information in a single, already active platform, called AGIR. Montreal also suggests “increasing the value of the statements of offense issued by the Mobility Squad”.

Two months after a study by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM), which revealed that a third of orange cones are “useless” downtown, the City also plans to replace its cones on the local network “with bollards smaller size or any other safety signaling device”.

However, the Ministère des Transports (MTMD) will first have to modify its signage rules in this area. Discussions have already been initiated with the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, on this subject.

Montreal also intends to “reduce the number of cones required during obstructions in urban areas”. The City also plans to “identify signaling equipment, including orange cones, with a chip or QR code, to allow the owner to be found and facilitate the recovery of the equipment”. The idea had been raised by several experts in recent months.

Finally, the municipal authorities intend to ask contractors “to install tarpaulins or banners on the fences of major construction sites”.