While the arrival of the REM from the East is causing many public and political concerns, the CDPQ Infra defends its aerial route and presents the next steps of its project.
Unveiled last December by Quebec, the CDPQ Infra project promises to add 23 new stations spread over two branches, respectively to the east and northeast of Montreal by 2029.
If the project was applauded at its announcement, citizens and experts have expressed many fears about the project in recent weeks.
The challenges of integrating the aerial section into the urban fabric were underlined by several experts, political actors and citizens. Questions regarding the integration of the project into the existing transport network were also put forward. In addition, some local governments have called for the addition of stations in Rivière-des-Prairies and in Montreal East.
No underground branch to the east
In order to alleviate the negative effects envisaged by the aerial route, several citizen and political actors, in particular at the City of Montreal, have expressed an interest in having the route to the east be underground, in particular under René-Lévesque.
As for the CDPQ, we reiterate that this option does not seem possible.
“We have of course evaluated the possibility of going underground. But there are really major buried infrastructures that do not allow this solution to be built while respecting deadlines and costs, ”says Virginie Cousineau, spokesperson for the REM de l’Est.
The tunnels of the orange line and the yellow line of the metro in the Berri-UQAM sector would hinder the project. “We don’t have the space to pass between the two tunnels, so we have to go underneath and it’s a very deep depth”.
Furthermore, the higher costs of this assumption would jeopardize the viability of the project.
The technical study carried out in the city center would be made public shortly.
Extend the plot to RDP?
In recent weeks, the RDP-PAT borough and the City of Montreal-Est have each tabled a motion to add REM stations on their territory.
But is it possible that the CDPQ will grant their request?
Without giving a categorical answer, Ms. Cousineau maintains that there is “always the possibility of optimizing the route if there are things that occur along the way, as it is done during the first phase”.
These issues have started to be discussed with the parties concerned. The CDPQ began a tour since mid-December with stakeholders, all the boroughs and related cities crossed by the project.
This spring, citizens will be invited to express themselves during the public consultations that will take place in the neighborhoods criss-crossed by the Eastern REM, probably in virtual form. The Caisse de dépôt also intends to defend its choices there: the various corridors analyzed and set aside will be presented there.
The CDPQ, “an operator like the STM”
The CDPQ ensures, like the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain, that the work for planning and integrating the REM into the existing network will be done in “close collaboration” with the Authority.
“We are an operator like the STM. We propose a project and the ARTM has the mandate to ensure that it is complementary with the other networks and to do this planning at a high strategic level, ”says Ms. Cousineau.
Faced with fears that the REM “cannibalizes” in particular the green line, the future SRB Pie-IX and commuter trains, the spokesperson assures us that the CDPQ does not compete with existing modes of transport. Studies on the expected impacts of the project are currently being jointly analyzed with the transport networks.