Why does Montréal carry out so many construction projects each year?

Last updated June 29, 2021
Reading time: 3 min

Every year, Montréal and its boroughs carry out more than 500 construction projects of all kinds within their limits. These projects serve to repair, optimize and modernize infrastructures to improve services to residents and their quality of life. In a word, they’re essential.

What construction work is being done in Montréal?

You may be surprised to learn that the 500 projects we carry out annually represent only 25% of the work done in Montréal. The vast majority of construction works on public property are carried out by other public organizations and private companies, such as Hydro-Québec, the Commission des services électriques de Montréal, Énergir, Bell, Vidéotron, and even real estate developers.

Work carried out by the city includes the following:

  • modernization of water and sewer systems 
  • road repair and reconstruction
  • (re)developing streets, parks, bike paths and curb extensions
  • updating street lighting and traffic signal systems
  • revitalizing commercial arteries
  • carrying out strategic projects that redefine the city. 

What’s the use of all this?

We have many reasons for doing all this work:

Eliminating the maintenance deficit to avoid long-term impacts

For many years, due to lack of budgets and because construction sites and their inconvenience were quite unpopular at the time, maintenance work on Montréal’s infrastructures was postponed, resulting in a maintenance deficit. To remedy the situation, we’ve been investing significant sums of money over the past few years to repair and rebuild infrastructure that has deteriorated over time. You could say we’re currently in a construction blitz!

We need to do this work quickly to reduce the number of unplanned and urgent interventions that occur. These can have major impacts on the population, such as creating traffic congestion in key locations or reducing the available drinking water.

Keeping our assets in good shape

Since a pinch in time saves nine, we want to keep our existing and newly built infrastructure in good shape to make sure it will last a long time.

Improving infrastructure performance 

We’re improving the performance of our infrastructures to meet the needs of a growing population and improve efficiency.

For example:

  • In districts that are developing rapidly, like Griffintown in the Sud-Ouest, we’re increasing the diameter of certain water mains so they can better serve a growing population.  
  • The addition of new pressure measurement and control chambers to the water system allows us to analyze the flow of drinking water through the distribution system in real-time and know the flow rate, volume and pressure at any moment in time. This allows us to control the water pressure in the pipes and avoid premature pipe damage. 

Revitalize neighbourhoods and stimulate Montréal’s economy

Certain districts and major arteries are undergoing major renewal. These strategic projects are essential to the development of the metropolis, as they constitute a unique opportunity to redefine the city of tomorrow.

For example:

  • The MIL Montréal neighbourhood, located at the junction of the boroughs of Outremont, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, Plateau-Mont-Royal and Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension, is currently being transformed into a real innovation district, the new home of the University of Montréal’s science complex. In order to bring this new environment to life, the city is carrying out major infrastructure work, such as construction of water and sewer lines, roadways and sidewalks, the creation of bicycle paths and the development of parks.
  • The city is also working on certain commercial arteries to rebuild infrastructures that are obsolete or in poor condition. This work provides merchants with quality, sustainable infrastructure. We also take advantage of these projects to rethink the design of commercial streets and create attractive, safe and user-friendly arteries, which helps revitalize a neighbourhood’s economy and encourages buying local. 

 Did you know?

In 2021, $456 million will be invested in maintenance and renewal of water systems and $486 million in road infrastructure, for a total investment of $942 million.