People living in the Town of Mount-Royal are demanding city council commit to taking legal action against the Réseau express métropolitain (REM).
At Tuesday’s unusually packed council meeting, resident Peter Malouf presented a petition, asking the mayor to require the REM to propose better traffic relief measures.
If the REM doesn’t comply, the petition — which has gathered almost one thousand signatures — demands that the city file an injunction on behalf of residents.
People are expecting commuter chaos in January when the Mount-Royal tunnel will be shut down completely.
The REM also plans to close down the Cornwall and Jean-Talon bridges.
Malouf argues the closures could put people’s lives at risk.
“How are ambulances going to get over here on this side if Jean-Talon closes down to one lane east and one lane west in traffic?” Malouf asks.
“How are first responders going to get over here? How are police going to get over here?”
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Malouf says he’d like the REM to stagger the closure of both the Cornwall and Jean-Talon bridges, among other suggestions.
Town of Mount-Royal mayor Philippe Roy says he agrees with the demands and suggestions stated in the petition and by Malouf.
“We are talking to the Caisse de dépôt. We feel that they hear us,” Roy told Global News.
“We will try to solve the problem by talking to them and if it doesn’t work, well, there is always the challenge with the court.”
In an email to Global News, REM spokesperson Emmanuelle Rouillard-Moreau said they are aware of the issues.
“A meeting last week provided an update on several concerns of the city and citizens and identified new options to be evaluated to limit the impact of the work on road traffic,” Rouillard-Moreau wrote.
The REM says the Cornwall Bridge has reached its useful life expectancy and is scheduled to be rebuilt from early 2020.
Demolition and reconstruction work is expected to take about a year. “This work is not required for the REM, but we take advantage of the mobilization of the site to carry out this necessary work,” Rouillard-Moreau wrote.
“Traffic will be possible on the Laird/Graham Bridge next door during this year of work.”
Rouillard-Moreau explained the Jean-Talon bridge is in a similar situation.
“The Jean Talon Bridge is also to be rebuilt and the City of Montreal is also benefiting from the work of the REM and the fact that rail traffic will be interrupted to carry out the work,” the spokesperson wrote. The work will be carried it out in phases in order to ease the impact on traffic.
Mayor Roy says he is expecting an answer from the REM on the town’s demands next week before deciding next steps.