Montreal's REM Is Facing Construction Delays Thanks To A Surprise Detonation Of Explosives

Unexpected incidents have led to significant construction delays for Montreal's most anticipated public transit project, the Réseau Express Métropolitain's (REM).

First, an "unexpected detonation of a century-old explosive charge" in the Mount Royal Tunnel, along with the separate discovery of structural degradation in some tunnels walls, has led officials to push the opening of the segment between the Gare Centrale and Du Ruisseau stations by over a year, to fall 2023.

The surprise detonation occurred on July 20 and thankfully, no one was hurt.

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While the pandemic is still ongoing, the project office continues to closely monitor the situation with relevant authorities.

Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM)

Tunnel work will also affect "opening the West Island, Deux-Montagnes and Airport branches, since the tunnel lies in the central segment," the REM said in a press release

The opening of the West Island branch "is thus planned for the spring of 2024, rather than fall 2023" and "the complete segment up to Deux-Montagnes will be put into service in the fall of 2024, rather than at the end of 2023."

In addition to these, pandemic-related restraints have contributed to further construction delays. 

The South Shore branch, from Brossard to the Gare Centrale, is now projected to open in the spring or summer of 2022, "rather than the end of 2021."

Finally, the REM expects the airport branch will open by the end of 2024 instead of the end of 2023.

While the construction is delayed, the first train tests will continue as planned along the South Shore segment. 

According to the REM, "teams are working diligently to find ways to make up for lost time."