VG confirms that the roads in Quebec are still a mess


All of the asphalt applied to the roads in Quebec has been destroyed, and the amounts needed to correct the situation are exploding, now reaching more than $10 billion just to restore the roads.

The Auditor General of Quebec looked at the state of Quebec’s roads, focusing on the 31,000 kilometers of roads that make up the Quebec government’s main road network, excluding structures.

The search is a disaster despite the investments of recent years: 8,075 km of roads have reached the end of their lifespan and require major rehabilitation work, reports the document placed this morning in the National Assembly.

“They need corrective interventions, but the conservation work done is not enough, so the deficit in the maintenance of the asset of the road network will increase,” said the report.

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This deficit, explains the auditor group Guylaine Leclerc, increased to $3 billion between 2018 and 2022, i.e., since the election of the Coalition Avenir Québec. It has now reached $10 billion. This is a quarter of the government’s total asset maintenance deficit for asphalt, concrete, and gravel that line the roads.

Vg Confirms That The Roads In Quebec Are Still A Mess

However, the VG explained that the ministry of Geneviève Guilbault “does not have any projection model of the impact that will have on the natural deterioration” and the new findings on the evolution of this deficiency.

As a bonus, the Legault government changed the method of calculating this deficit in 2022, which allowed it to improve the picture.

“Without these changes in the calculation parameters, the asset maintenance deficit estimated in 2022 would therefore be $11.0 billion instead of $10.2 billion,” the report said.

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Therefore, VG is unable to assess the level of investment required to control this development.

Also, for 2022 alone, MTQ has reduced its deficit by $247 million, the organization estimates.

A heavy burden

The poor condition of the road network now represents almost 29% of the Treasury Board’s sustainability deficit.

During the 2023 budget, the total deficit for the entire road network, including structures, reached $20 billion.

Vg Confirms That The Roads In Quebec Are Still A Mess

The actual amount that should be budgeted to repair the roads also remains a mystery because they did not take into account the last year that was hit by inflation.

In February, the Minister of Infrastructure, Jonatan Julien, stated that all major infrastructure projects will fall victim to overheating in the construction sector. He gave the example of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge in Montreal, which will cost $2 billion, or 45% more than expected.

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In addition, says VG, “some road rehabilitation works that will promote the maintenance of the road network are not planned, while a significant part of those planned have ended up being postponed.”

Minister Geneviève Guilbault fled the media after question period on Thursday. Its communications director wrote that the cabinet is considering the AG’s report.

“Minister Guilbault is working on an action plan to correct the deficiencies raised by the VGQ. Last year, we announced a $7.4 billion investment to ensure the maintenance and improvement of road transport networks, maritime, railway, and airport networks. In 2022, 1,478 km of road will be affected by road works,” he reported.