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Long-awaited accessible tunnel between Vendome metro and MUHC facing delays

Excavation has been halted at part of the Vendome work site on May 5, 2018. Dan Spector / Global News

People anxiously awaiting a wheelchair-accessible route to the McGill superhospital from Vendome metro may have to wait a bit longer.

Global News has learned construction on the portion of the ambitious new tunnel is facing obstacles and delays.

The STM confirmed unstable soil has stalled excavation as part of the work site.

READ MORE: Public consultations on tap for new Vendôme tunnel

“We discovered some bad quality ground in Zone A,” said STM spokesperson Amélie Régis. “To find good quality ground, we will have to dig deeper, which will delay us for a few weeks.”

The STM began work in January on a $76.5-million upgrade to Vendome that will include a wheelchair-accessible tunnel between the metro station and the hospital. It was initially set to be completed in fall 2019, but is now planned for winter 2020 due to the complex nature of the project.

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“As someone who works in the hospital and deals with children who don’t have easy accessibility all the time, it makes no sense that there was no accessibility for patients before,” said pediatrician Jeremy Saban.

READ MORE: Access an issue as new Vendôme-MUHC tunnel opens

When the hospital opened in 2015, it faced heavy criticism that the only tunnel connecting it to Vendome was not wheelchair accessible. Disabled rights activist Linda Gauthier is still angry about it.

“It’s a scandal,” she told Global News on Thursday. “They didn’t think about us. They think of us as second-class or third-class citizens.”

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