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Blue line Metro extension stalled again due to complexity of project

After decades of discussion and a multitude of government announcements, it seems that the promised blue line extension of the Metro has been delayed again.

Crews have been working for more than a month, moving pipes and cables in preparation for the massive tunnel excavation.

But that hasn't prevented new problems from surfacing when it comes to the timetable for a project that's been in the pipeline since the 1980s, said Eric Alan Caldwell, the Chairperson of the STM.

"The bidders expressed some concern about the delay of execution. The STM had a discussion with them and the conclusion is that we were keeping the right balance for reasonable delays and a reasonable budget," Caldwell said.

As a result, the extension deadline will be pushed back to 2030 instead of 2029.

The STM said the decision came about after discussing the complexity of the project with the bidders.

"In a kind of global economic crisis and how difficult it is with, not fabrics but materials, labour and inflation, I mean it's tough, it is tough to put those big projects out," said the Mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante.

Indeed, that is the other key issue, according to the STM, the lengthy process involved with getting large public transit projects off the ground.

"The best practice elsewhere shows us that in a system if you start those discussions earlier between the entrepreneur and the work, you can achieve better results to make sure the project is made on time on budget," said Caldwell.

Quebec's premier, François Legault, and Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault said the government plans to create an agency that will be responsible for figuring out how to best finance major projects.

In the meantime, Guilbault emphasized the extension will happen, just not as quickly as transit users might have hoped.

"The good news is that this extension is due to the fact that we were asked by consortiums and enterprises on the market to adjust to their reality and to be realistic, and so they need more time to be able to table propositions," said Guilbault at the national assembly on Tuesday. Top Stories

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