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Closing of Mount Royal Tunnel postponed, cost of REM project jumps by $230 million
MONTREAL -- The controversial two-year closing of the Mount Royal tunnel as part of the work on the REM electric train network has been postponed from Jan. 6 to March 30, 2020.
The consortium building the REM says the delay will increase the cost by $230 million, bringing the project's total to $6.5 billion.
In a news release issued on Tuesday, CDPQ Infra said the delay will allow it to better plan work on the tunnel, but will not delay the timeline of the overall REM project.
"This postponement will not impact the total time the tunnel will be closed or the overall timing for commissioning thanks to an acceleration of work on all branches," CDPQ Infra said in a statement.
"It will also remove one winter season from the period during which alternative public transportation measures will be implemented."
Many users of the Montreal – Deux-Montagnes train line have expressed concerns over the inconveniences expected to occur from a lack of access to the Mont-Royal tunnel for a two-year span.
Postponing the closure to March "will also remove one winter season from the period during which alternative public transportation measures will be implemented," said CDPQ Infra.
Responding to news of the delay, the STM said in a tweet that it is evaluating the operational impacts on ridership and will make the necessary adjustments as soon as possible. Last week, the public transit network said it was set to rent coach buses to ease commutes into the city during the construction.
An average of 30,000 daily trips are made on the Montreal -- Deux-Montagnes train line.
Commuters on Monday who spoke to CTV News seemed to agree with the decision to postpone the closing of the tunnel.
"It doesn't make sense to make it start in January because it's the rough winter time so that's good, it's very refreshing to hear that [the closure is being postponed,]" one man said.
- With files from The Canadian Press