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Mount Royal tunnel closure delayed until next spring

The Mount Royal tunnel closure was supposed to begin in January.
The Mount Royal tunnel closure was supposed to begin in January. Tim Sargeant/Global News

The closure of the Mount Royal tunnel as part of work on Montreal’s light rail network has been delayed until March 30, 2020.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced the postponement in a statement on Tuesday and that the price tag of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) has increased by $230 million to $6.5 billion.

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The pension fund manager states the consortium building the light rail network requires more time to prepare for the next stage of work but that it will not change the total time the tunnel will be closed.

“It will also remove one winter season from the period during which alternative public transportation measures will be implemented,” the Caisse said in a statement.

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The Mount Royal tunnel was supposed to close on Jan. 6 and disrupt service on the Deux-Montagnes and Mascouche train lines. The closure will create a longer and more difficult commute for train users.

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While mitigation efforts were announced earlier this year, train riders have repeatedly expressed concerns over the work and impending train disruptions.

The Caisse said on Tuesday that reduced fares for Deux-Montagnes train users will begin next year. The monthly fare for January will be waived and the Caisse will cover up to 30 per cent off the cost of monthly train and TRAM passes from January to March.

The change will not impact the overall schedule of construction for the REM, according to the pension fund manager.

The light rail network will include 67 kilometres of tracks that will link Montreal, the south shore, the West Island and the north shore. It is expected to be completed by 2024.

Train user issues heartfelt cry for help
Train user issues heartfelt cry for help

— With files from the Canadian Press