Highway 50 in west Quebec will get widening money by 2027

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Highway 50 in west Quebec will get widening money by 2027

Highway 50 in west Quebec is one step closer to being widened after Tuesday's budget added the project to the province's official infrastructure plan.

Eight people have died in crashes on the mostly undivided road that runs from Gatineau to Mirabel, Que., north of Montreal, since it opened in 2012.

Families of the crash victims and politicians have both called for the highway to be widened quickly.

Tuesday's provincial budget added the Highway 50 widening project to Quebec's official infrastructure plan, known as the Plan québécois des infrastructures.

That means money will be committed to the project by 2027, possibly just for planning the work but also potentially for construction as well.

'Step in the right direction'

Gatineau's mayor Maxime Pednaud-Jobin said it's good news that money is coming, even though it's still not known how much the province is committing.

"It's a step in the right direction. Many people in the Outaouais are preoccupied by the highway," Pednaud-Jobin said Tuesday.

Papineau MNA Alexandre Iracà, the Liberal representative for one of the ridings that Highway 50 runs through, said in a statement that he's extremely happy his and his colleagues' efforts had paid off.

Iracà and five other Liberal MNAs from west Quebec had written a letter to Quebec's transportation minister asking for widening to be a priority — and for it to happen quickly.

After MNAs voted unanimously on a motion calling for those same things, Iracà had said the next step would be for the widening project to be added to the province's infrastructure plan so that the expansion could get started.

An environmental assessment is already underway to see what it would take to widen seven kilometres of the highway near Buckingham, Que.

Robert Goulet, the mayor of l'Ange Gardien, Que., another community that sits along the highway, told Radio-Canada that while Tuesday's news is a win, it doesn't really advance the project.

Goulet said he's still looking for a more concrete plan.