Metropolitan Express Network | Delay for the airport antenna

Users of Dorval-Trudeau airport will have to resign themselves to continuing to take their car, a taxi or the bus to get downtown and forget about the REM for 2024.

Posted May 20

Andre Dubuc

Andre Dubuc
The Press

Julien Arsenault

Julien Arsenault
The Press

The Press learned that the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) antenna leading to the airport is facing further delays and will not be in service at the end of 2024 as planned.

This situation affects one of the purposes of the $6 billion megaproject, which is to connect the Montréal-Trudeau international airport to downtown. It turns out that the REM airport station will be completed later than expected.

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PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, THE PRESS

Located downstream from the airport, the future Marie-Curie station, called to serve the industrial park reserved for high-tech sectors, will remain deprived of service as long as the airport station is not open.

“Obviously, if there is no station [à l’aéroport en 2024], there is no commissioning of this antenna. We are sitting down with Aéroports de Montréal to define the commissioning sites for the airport antenna,” said Jean-Vincent Lacroix, spokesperson for CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec, which is piloting the network.

“The cars have to be able to turn around and then start off again,” explains Mr. Lacroix. We really put into service by antenna and not by isolated station. »

Joined by The Pressthe mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent, Alan DeSousa, and those responsible for the Technoparc Montréal, who are impatiently awaiting the electric train, did not seem aware of the rescheduling of the schedule.

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PHOTO PHILIPPE BOIVIN, ARCHIVES SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Alan DeSousa, Mayor of the Borough of Saint-Laurent

It is understood that the section of the network linking downtown to the South Shore will be inaugurated next fall. The tunnel under Mount Royal is due to reopen a year later, in the fall of 2023. The rest of the route is due to enter service by the end of 2024. However, this will not be the case for the antenna of the ‘airport.

The airport station is the only one of the 26 stations that is not under the responsibility of NouvLR, a consortium retained by the Caisse to build the REM. Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) is responsible for building it. It was to cost 250 million in 2018. The bill has more than doubled and reached 600 million. Quebec and Ottawa had to intervene in April 2021 to advance the money. ADM, a non-profit corporation that manages Montreal-Trudeau and Mirabel airports, awarded the contract to AECON and EBC at the end of January. Work finally began in mid-March.

In early May, during the company’s annual public meeting, ADM boss Philippe Rainville indicated that the airport station would not be ready in time. We had never mentioned the postponement of the commissioning of the entire section connecting the Bois-Franc station to the Montreal-Trudeau airport.

The airport station had already been described as a “financial disaster” by Mr. Rainville last November. He claimed that the REM would deprive ADM of a sum of 5 to 10 million generated through parking fees.

ADM refuses to advance on a date of entry into service and referred the questions of The Press at CDPQ Infra.

“Bad news”, says the borough mayor

This turnaround will have consequences for the Technoparc Montréal, in the borough of Saint-Laurent, which is penalized by this decision. Located downstream from the airport, the future Marie-Curie station, called to serve the industrial park reserved for high-tech sectors, will remain deprived of service as long as the airport station is not open.

Any delay is “bad news”, underlines Mayor Alan DeSousa, who adds that “everyone is eager” to have access to the Marie-Curie station – located at the corner of rue Albert-Einstein and boulevard Alfred Nobel.

During a telephone interview with The PressMr. DeSousa said he was not informed of the postponement of the commissioning of the REM antenna which is to serve the airport.

“I can be understanding for certain delays already announced, but I would like CDPQ Infra to put its foot on the pedal to complete this section as quickly as possible,” he said. The service is essential for the economic competitiveness of the Technoparc. »

There are 125 companies established in the Technoparc. They employ about 6,000 workers. The mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent claims to be discussing with other businesses to encourage them to establish themselves there. Ensuring that the REM will be in service on time is a “critical element,” says DeSousa.

Access to a REM station has prompted several companies to settle in the Technoparc. We give the example of Orthogone Technologies, which established itself there in September 2021. “The REM was indeed an argument (among several others) to settle in the Technoparc”, underlined the director of business development and Technoparc Montréal public relations, Ludivine Félix, in an email sent to The Press.

In the afternoon of Thursday, the REM.info site was not up to date and still announced that the airport branch would be commissioned in 2024.

With the collaboration of William Leclerc, The Press

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Metropolitan Express Network | Delay for the airport antenna


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