ST. ALBANS — Several Canadian government officials drove down across the border Thursday to garner U.S. support for the connection of AutoRoute 35 to Interstate 89.

They met with members of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce, Tim Smith of Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation and representatives from the Vermont Agency of Transportation and U.S. Senator’s offices at the Vermont State Police St. Albans Barracks yesterday afternoon.

On the table for discussion were ways the U.S. could help place pressure on the Quebec government to finish AutoRoute 35, constructing 13 kilometers of road to connect the highway with its U.S. counterpart, Interstate 89.

Audrey Bogemans, president of the Haut-Richelieu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained the importance of the $350 million project and why time was of the essence.

Bogemans said the purpose of the meeting was to get together and make a strong statement to the Quebec government, stating the importance of AutoRoute 35 in maintaining and strengthening the economic link between the two countries.

“We cannot deny the importance of doing business with the U.S.,” she said.

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