Where it's going and when construction is supposed to end.
It seems like we report on thisevery year, but once again, there are definitive plans to extend the Montreal Metro Blue line further east. Minister for Transport and Minister Responsible for the Montreal Region Chantal Rouleau announced a revised plan for five additional metro stations on March 18.
"The blue line will go to Anjou," Rouleau said. "The project has been enhanced to open up an entire population who will now have access to a public transit system worthy of the name."
That all sounds good, but what exactly is the Government of Quebec and the STM doing to accommodate the needs of the East End without overwhelming an already crowded metro system?
Who's paying for the Blue line extension?
First, the brass tacks. The project is getting $6.4 billion of funding, $1.3 billion of which is coming from the federal government. Of that $6.4 billion, the STM is getting a $1.12 billion grant.
Of the $1.12 billion grant, $577 million is allocated to planning the project, $443 million* is going towards maintenance expenses, and $100 million is being put towards making the new metro stations universally accessible. This means that all five of the new metro stops will have elevators.
The STM is "the principal contractor and project manager" for this new expansion — meaning it's up to the STM to deliver the new stops. The project is expected to start construction in 2023 and be completed by 2029.
The project will use a tunnel boring machine to dig the new tunnels, which will hopefully minimize noise in the neighbourhoods above. This is the first time a tunnel boring machine has been used to dig metro tunnels in Montreal.
Where will the new Blue line stations be?
The new stops will be extending east from the Saint-Michel terminus down rue Jean-Talon. There will be new stations at the corners of rue Jean-Talon and boulevard Pie-IX, boulevard Viau, boulevard Lacordaire, and boulevard Langelier. The new terminus will be where rue Bélanger meets autoroute 25.
A map of the Blue Line extension.STM
This last stop will have entrances on either side of Highway 25, opening metro access to yet another neighbourhood. The new stops haven't been named yet, but we've got suggestions. Oscar Peterson Station? Mordecai Richler Station? Leonard Cohen Station? Just a thought.
Saint-Michel station will remain open during construction.
How will the Blue line connect to other transit lines?
The new expansion plan is similar to old plans, with a few significant improvements.
For starters, the STM will be adding that second eastern access to the terminus on rue Bélanger, which should make the metro accessible to the surrounding neighbourhood east of Highway 25.
The Pie-IX station bus terminal is also getting revamped, with a tunnel connecting the metro to the upcoming Pie-IX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line. Assuming everyone ever agrees on a plan for it, the REM de l'Est will also connect to the Blue line, allowing more commuting options for East Islanders. Basically, if you live near rue Jean-Talon and boulevard Pie-IX, consider investing in some headphones.
If you're anything like us, you're probably asking yourself how all this increased traffic is going to affect the Orange line. After all, Jean-Talon station is already a very busy station, along with the rest of the line.
To help combat overcrowding, the STM plans on having metro cars arrive every two minutes during the times of day with the highest traffic. This will shave off 30 seconds from the current rush-hour wait time, and hopefully, thin out the crowds.
*This article has been updated.