The construction of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light-rail system is entering a new phase in Montreal’s West Island.
Work started Wednesday to erect the aerial structures that will carry the tracks of the new REM light-rail system, the latest step in the building of the track that will replace the old Deux-Montagnes commuter train line that passed through the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro.
The structures will be erected between the Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Sunnybrook stations.
“Over the next few weeks we’re going to build 1.6 kilometres of aerial structure in this area,” said Rouillard-Moreau, Emmanuelle, spokesperson for CDPQ Infra, the body responsible for building the new rail system.
“This is historic for us,” declared borough mayor Dimitrios ‘Jim’ Beis. “For the folks that live in this area that have been here for decades, to see this going up in our neighbourhood is incredible.”
It’s a view shared by people who kept gathering throughout the day Wednesday, marveling at how it’s being built.
“It’s amazing,” exclaimed Reinhard Sprogis as he stood watching workers. “My wife and I, we live just down the road and we wanted to see how it all comes together.”
When the project was first announced, residents had concerns about the impact of the final project.
One issue was privacy. The elevated trains will overlook people’s homes. Another was parking.
“We have about 900 parking spots in the Roxboro station along with Sunnybrook,” said Beis referring to the former commuter train stops. “We’ve been told those will be maintained.”
Some of those issues were raised at a recent information session. REM officials promised to keep talking to residents to solve any problems.
People like Sandy Weigens, who were used to taking the commuter train, are eager to have this project completed
“It’s taking a long time,” he noted, “and as a commuter I’d like to have seen this finished by now.”
The commuter line was closed to build the REM so people are impatient to have this one up and running. The new trains are scheduled to be on the tracks by the end of 2023.