Montreal REM taking shape – This past year the REM system began to take shape. Work on the project began in April 2018, but Montrealers really started to see its progress with their own eyes during 2019. Even with construction causing major headaches for commuters, with all the lane closures and detours, it was impressive to behold as parts of the structure became visible. The reality of the project began to sink in all over the Island.
Work on the elevated part of the structure running from the Technoparc in Ville Saint-Laurent to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in the West Island was hard to miss. Foundation piles were driven into the ground and then the pillars were put up. Massive launching gantries ‘Marie’ (after Marie Curie Street in the Technoparc) and ‘Anne’ (nickname for Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue) were then put into action, lifting 50 ton concrete segments and then sliding them into place to build the structure where the tracks for the REM trains will be laid down. By December, it was clear that ‘Marie’ and ‘Anne’ were soon to meet. Here is a look back at 2019 and what has been accomplished so far.
– REM construction workers: They may not have always been as visible, but over 1000 construction workers formed the backbone of the project. Operators, steelworkers, carpenters, reinforcing ironworkers, mechanics, electricians, surveyors, engineers and technicians, were busy all year round. Progress on the REM would have not been possible if not for the efforts of these workers.
– Pillars: Of the 514 pillars that will be needed for the elevated parts of the structure throughout the Montreal’s metropolitan region, 158 were put up – mostly in Pointe-Sainte-Charles and the West Island.
– Concrete segments: The concrete segments for the elevated structures were prefabricated under a controlled environment in a factory. The method offered an assurance of quality and rapid progress – with 1,134 prefabricated segments out of 4,563 made in 2019.
– West Island Spans: The ‘Marie’ and ‘Anne’ launching gantries were kept busy. In 2019, 94 spans were installed between the pillars of the elevated structure along Highway 40 in the West Island. In total, 366 spans are required for the REM system. However, the gantries will be on a break for the winter and back in action in the spring of 2020.
– Tunnel boring machine: Parts for the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) arrived in Montreal last October 30th and was soon after named ‘Alice’, the winning name chosen in a contest held by the REM. The huge piece of machinery will be used in digging a 3.5km long tunnel more than 30 metres below the surface from the Technoparc in St. Laurent all the way to Montreal-Trudeau airport. It is being assembled and will start drilling in 2020.
– EDOUARD-MONTPETIT STATION – 60 METERS DEEP: Work for the downtown Edouard-Montpetit station in 2019, involved digging 60 metres deep and excavating more than 30,000 m3 rock in order to build the underground REM station, scheduled to open in 2022. Once completed, the station will be the second deepest in North America at 70 meters, with the Washington Park light rail station located in Portland, Oregon being the deepest at 79 metres.
– FIRST TRACKS LAID DOWN: Running right down the center of Highway 10 in the South Shore, the first 2 kilometres of tracks for the system have been installed – a very significant moment for the entire project. Further installation of the tracks and electrical systems will continue into next year, ending with a test track in the Fall of 2020.
– REM STATIONS UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Significant progress has been made on 9 stations in the South Shore. The station’s architectural design will feature materials such as wood and glass (rather than concrete), in order to blend in more harmoniously with the neighbourhoods. In total, the REM will have 26 stations.
– FIRST REM STRUCTURE COMPLETED: The maintenance centre for the REM, located in Saint-Eustache, is the very first structure that is 100% complete. For now, the centre will be temporarily used by Exo trains in 2020, then by the REM once it is up and running.
Mount-Royal Tunnel work postponed
Users of the Montreal-Deux-Montagnes train line will get a welcome reprieve for the winter, with the highly controversial closing of the Mount Royal tunnel being postponed until March 30th 2020. The significant problems users are expected to experience for two years have many wondering how they will manage their daily commutes, even with alternative public transportation measures. CDPQ Infra, who is overseeing the REM project said ‘the delay will allow it to better plan work on the tunnel, but will not delay the timeline of the overall REM project’.
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