The Réseau express métropolitain (REM) is moving at full speed towards meeting deadlines, thanks to a portfolio of business that is still going on at the present time. However, the bill is growing, the inevitable effect of the epidemic, the maintenance of project officials.
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As of today, the monorail has a total bill of about $7 billion, CDPQ Infra President and CEO Mark Arbod confirmed Thursday. That’s $350 million more than the latest estimate from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) “infrastructure,” and $1.5 billion more than the initial budget.
“We’ve had an epidemic, 15 months, with complex issues,” said Mr. Arbod, who was sharing an update on the progress of REM 1.0 — which will move from South Shore to North Shore. Plus access to West Montreal Island.
Due to the vagaries of COVID-19, $200 million has been added to the projected cost of the network. “A lot has happened in recent months,” summarizes Mr. Arbod.
The remaining $150 million falls under the “Adjustments to the Project” category since work began.
Moreover, the bill threatens to grow even more. Caisse still doesn’t know the costs of blowing up the tunnel under Mount Royal, which forced a delay in work last November.
While REM 1.0 is “not quite at the end of the tunnel,” CDPQ Infra does not expect further cost overruns. And Marc Arboud reassures Quebec: $7 billion for such a project is a great performance. “Compared to the scale of the project, the level of complexity of the project, we’re doing a good job,” he said.
As for the work schedule, it does not change a little. It’s a branch from REM to Montreal-Trudeau Airport that should finally open, at the end of 2024. “It’s going very well,” CDPQ Infra’s vice president of corporate affairs, development and strategy said Thursday. Harut Shetilian.
According to him, 2021 is the “most important construction season” in the Al Reem region: about thirty sites are under construction. Already, three stations have been built on the south shore: Broussard, Du Quartier and Panama.
The section between South Shore and Central Station in Montreal is expected to be commissioned in 2022. The central portion of the project (Fall 2023), West Section (Spring 2024), then follows the branch in order North (Fall 2024). This last axis would cross west of Laval to join the Deux-Montagnes.
Ultimately, CDPQ Infra expects to see 60,000 users per day using the first branch of REM, in the south.