New barrier keeps snakes away from site of future REM station in Pointe-Claire

Mon, Aug 13: A black barrier has popped up around the woods next to the Fairview Mall along Highway 40 West. As Global's Cora MacDonald reports, the fence is related to the REM, the electric train project promised for greater Montreal.

After a fence popped up along Highway 40 West near the the Fairview shopping centre, some residents in Pointe-Claire wondered why it appeared.

Global News has learned the barrier is being used to keep out brown snakes while underground drilling begins for the planned station in the area as part of the larger REM all-electric train project.

“We are doing some drilling underground to do some analysis so that we can know the exact location of the rock underground,” said Jean-Vincent Lacroix, the media director of the Réseau express métropolitain.

Wooden cloth fence surrounds patch of land where underground drilling will begin. Monday, August 13, 2018.
Wooden cloth fence surrounds patch of land where underground drilling will begin. Monday, August 13, 2018. Cora MacDonald / Global News

“We have to build in a couple of weeks the foundation of the future piers of the REM,” he added.

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The black cloth barrier runs parallel to Highway 40 in the westbound direction. It is 300 metres long and 100 metres away from the highway.

READ MORE: REM construction blamed for new commuter train delays

“We know that in the West Island the pier will pass on an aerial structure. It won’t pass on the ground — so it’s really important that the first step for us is to build the foundation of the future pier,” Lacroix said.

If all goes well, REM officials say a solid structure will be put up in the coming months as soon as they are able to stop the snakes from slithering around their construction site.

Work to start building the Pointe-Claire station is slated to begin by the end of the year.

Construction on all four lines of the REM is expected to last until 2023, when the new train system is scheduled to open.

READ MORE: Montreal’s commuter train network promises to improve services

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