BY ANDY RIGA, THE GAZETTE, MARCH 16, 2014

Q. During the election campaign, Mayor Denis Coderre said the Cavendish Blvd. extension would be a priority. So when will I be able to drive from St-Laurent to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce without getting stuck on the Décarie Expressway?

A. I checked with Aref Salem, the Montreal executive committee member responsible for transportation. He ran with Coderre and is a city councillor in St-Laurent, which supports the extension and recently passed a resolution to that effect.

“It’s a priority, yes,” Salem said.

But the details are still being worked out.

The idea has been bandied about since the 1960s but the last study was completed in 2007 and is now being updated.

That update (cost: $1.2 million) should be ready in June. At that point, “we’ll know how much it will cost and how long it will take,” Salem said.

The Cavendish extension, across Canadian Pacific and Canadian National train tracks, would also include links to Royalmount Ave. and Jean-Talon Blvd., where a residential development with thousands of new units is in the works at the old Hippodrome de Montréal site (formerly known as Blue Bonnets).

But don’t expect a quick fix. The plan is to do the work over three phases, and the required funding is not in place yet.

In 2007, the city said the project would cost around $140 million. Expect that to rise. The Montreal agglomeration is expected to soon earmark $44 million for the work in its capital works budget, Salem said. Quebec will have to be convinced to help defray the cost.

Salem said the project is supported by the two boroughs (Cote-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and St-Laurent) and two cities (Côte-St-Luc and Town of Mount Royal) directly affected. “All local officials, whether municipal or provincial, are in favour,” he noted.

In February, St-Laurent and T.M.R. business leaders backed the plan. In an open letter, they said a new north-south route is needed, especially with years of traffic turmoil expected when the Turcot Interchange is rebuilt.

The extension would help industrial zones in St-Laurent and TMR, improve transport fluidity, improve access to the underused Namur métro station, and help the Hippodrome project.