MONTREAL -- The REM is still on schedule despite the delayed closure of the Mount-Royal tunnel, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) said on Wednesday.

The closure of the tunnel will postpone some construction work on the REM. But, it will also give planners time to better coordinate work before it starts, said Harout Chitilian, executive director of corporate affairs at the CDPQ. The REM will begin operating at the end of 2023, he said.

"Once we close the tunnel, people won't see one guy with a flashlight walking around inside the tunnel. They [will] see really massive deployment of workers, massive deployment of machinery and things getting done," he said.

About 30,000 people take trains through the tunnel daily. Many of them, commuters mostly, have been satisfied with the reprieve. Because of the delay in closing the tunnel, they won't have to contend with shuttle buses and alternative routes to get into the city until March.

Earlier this month, the STM said it would rent coach buses to ease commutes into the city during the construction.

Many have said they feel mitigation measures are insufficient.

"The measures offered just don't work they need to give us something that does work before they shut down the train," said Francis Millaire, spokesperson for the committee of Deux-Montagnes train users.

The CDPQ said it would consider other mitigation measures.

"Right now, what you see is the best that could be done. Are there any additional scenarios? Possibly, and we'll find out in the next three months if there's anything else we can add to the table," Chitilian said.  

With files from Matt Grillo