REM project – Given the history of construction project delays and setbacks in this city, there is more than enough reason for Montrealers to be skeptical of the REM project being delivered on time, never mind on budget. In an article recently published by La Presse newspaper, based on an internal NouvLR consortium document they acquired, they said the project could be delayed by up to two years – due to technical challenges of the work inside the Mont-Royal Tunnel. According the story, the Montreal fire department would require the tunnel to have a firewall between the north and southbound tracks and a ventilation system to evacuate smoke in the case of a fire – and that for safety reasons, the tunnel might even have to be widened. Their claims were quickly rebuked and the tunnel work explained.
“The project is on schedule. Even in certain sections, it’s ahead of schedule,” said Harout Chitilian, the Executive director of corporate affairs and development for CDPQ Infra, in response to their claims. “Everybody knows that this is a 100-year-old tunnel. Everybody knows that the tunnel needs to be reinforced, that we need new ventilation systems, new drainage systems, lighting telecommunications, plus exit shafts for users. If they’re ever in the tunnel and God forbid something happens… so there’s no compromise on our behalf on the security of the citizens.” Quebec Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel also reassured the public that the REM project will be delivered on time, but skepticism shall remain. Here is a look at the REM construction timeline – and to date, the work appears to be ‘on track’:
– PREPARATORY WORK 2018: In March, preparatory work started with geotechnical drilling to assess soil composition and resistance needed to design and construct the various infrastructures. Please note that during Spring, throughout all the major parts of the projects listed below, geotechnical surveys took place first, as well as location and relocation of public and municipal services. In the Summer of 2018, work began simultaneously on the REM’s four lines.
– SOUTH SHORE TO GRIFFINTOWN 2018 – 2019: During the Summer of 2018, construction of REM structures and tracks on the Highway 10 median began. During Fall, there was construction of the temporary Panama terminal and Du Quartier station, set up of temporary access/exit ramps on highway A10 and construction of the Lachine Canal Bridge and elevated Pointe-Saint-Charles structure. During the Winter and Summer of 2019, there was the demolition of Chevrier tunnel and construction of De la Commune Bridge. During Fall, construction of Île-des-Sœurs and Panama stations began with construction of a bridge over the Île-des-Sœurs Channel, as well as preparatory work on Central Station.
– CENTRAL STATION, MCGILL AND ÉDOUARD-MONTPETIT 2018-2019: During the Summer of 2018, excavation and construction for the future REM entrance to the Metro system’s Blue Line began – with the Édouard-Montpetit station entrance, facing Université de Montréal’s Marie-Victorin Pavillon, being demolished and forcing its closure. In Fall, work for the connection to the McGill College station began – with the actual construction of the station beginning in January 2019.
– DEUX-MONTAGNES AND MASCOUCHE LINES 2018-2020: Starting on April 27 2018, service was suspended from Friday through the weekend – and then in June, part of the Deux-Montagnes rail line began running along a single track in the Ville Mont‑Royal sector so that new stations could be built. Towards the end of the month, the train schedule was adjusted and commuters were advised to check Exo’s alternative routes to plan their trips. In September 2019, the Québec government, Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), Mobilité Montréal and transit authorities announced that in January of 2020, the entire segment of the Deux‑Montagnes line between Du Ruisseau and Central Station will be closed for approximately 24 months – and that a transitional network will be implemented during that time. *For more information about the transportation options available to users of the Deux-Montagnes and Mascouche lines while the tunnel is closed, refer to the Mobilité Montréal website.
– AIRPORT AND WEST ISLAND 2018-2019: Starting in Fall 2018 and into 2019, the laying of the foundation for elevated structure for the line, installation of superstructure, excavation at the Technoparc and the Airport tunnel began. In October, the launching beam ‘Marie’ began its progression crossing over Highway 40 near Henri-Bourassa Blvd. West, and the work will continue throughout the month. Traffic obstructions are to be expected, especially at night and the weekend of October 19 and 20. To date, the work is on schedule.
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