Réseau express métropolitain: semi-annual update
- Summer 2021: the project's biggest work season
- More than 3000 workers and employees deployed on approximately 30 construction sites, spread out over 67 km
- COVID-19 and optimizations: costs assumed by CDPQ Infra and and performance targets maintained for the project partners
- Progress report on the test period on the eve of next year's commissioning
Montreal, June 3, 2021 – Media representatives were invited to the semi-annual Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project update within the context of the biggest work season to date on the new light metro system, under exceptional conditions due to the pandemic that has been underway for over 15 months.
With more than 3000 workers and employees deployed on approximately 30 construction sites, REM work is now taking place for the first time on all 67 km of the future light metro system at the same time. The year 2021 will be a critical one in preparation for commissioning the REM’s Rive-Sud branch next year. Currently, 23 stations are under construction, 3 of which are nearing completion, 10 km of the overhead structure is complete, 13.7 km of rail has been laid, and a 3.5-km test segment has been commissioned on the Rive-Sud branch for a series of pre-commissioning tests.
“Active REM construction sites and the planned commissioning on the South Shore is the direct result of thousands of workers and professionals who have faced the exceptional conditions of a global pandemic for the past 15 months and found solutions to every challenge that arose. I would like to thank each one of them for their remarkable commitment to this project,” said Jean-Marc Arbaud, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ Infra.
The updated project schedule is maintained and the Rive-Sud branch will be commissioned in the summer of 2022, the central segment in the fall of 2023, the Anse-à-l'Orme branch in the spring of 2024, the Deux-Montagnes branch in the fall of 2024, and the airport branch in late 2024.
Ridership projections maintained
The press conference also provided an opportunity to present CDPQ Infra’s analysis of ridership projections for the future network, taking into account the potential impact of the pandemic. REM ridership forecasts are maintained over the long term. The characteristics of REM service make it particularly resilient in the post-pandemic outlook analyzed. The project proposes fast and frequent service available 20 hours per day, as well as access to downtown and from suburb to suburb. It also encourages the development of projects on a human scale and densification of the territory.
Financial update: a special allocation for COVID-19
Following the financial analysis of the exceptional events the project has faced since March 2020, CDPQ Infra has allocated $200 million to address issues that arose due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This allocation has made it possible to implement the necessary sanitary measures to ensure the health and safety of all workers on the construction sites. Border restrictions and closures have also impacted the supply of certain materials and the mobility of skilled labour. This special allocation has helped to mitigate both of these impacts.
An additional $150 million is being added to the project budget to address the various change requests received from communities since the start of construction in 2018. These requests specifically dealt with improving access and development around the REM stations to better serve future users.
Taking into account the COVID-19 allocation and improvements made in response to community requests, the total project budget is now estimated at $6.9 billion. Costs related to the Mount Royal Tunnel are currently being negotiated and will be reported at a later date.
Financial parameters maintained
Despite the special allocation for COVID-19 and the amount required for community requests, these contingencies do not affect the main financial parameters of the project.
No additional financial contribution from public authorities
- No additional investment from public or governmental authorities will be required. As provided for in the 2015 agreement, CDPQ Infra is responsible for the required amounts.
Rate established with the ARTM maintained
- The fare set at 72¢ in the agreement between the ARTM and CDPQ Infra in 2018 is also maintained. Multiplied by the actual project ridership, this cost defines the annual costs paid by the ARTM to the project. In addition to being a competitive fare, in terms of operating costs, this fare also includes, within the framework of the REM, the long-term capital and maintenance costs, thus offering great predictability.
Performance targets maintained
- In terms of performance, the targets set for CDPQ Infra at 8 to 9% and for the government at 3.7% are also maintained. Significant project progress and efficiency of execution (in five years, the project has progressed from just a project to a network that will be at least partially commissioned as early as next year) reduce project-related risks and help to optimize costs.
Progress report on the testing period
Since 2018, a test track was construct on the Rive-Sud branch to test all components and rolling stock for the future system. Completion of this 3.5 km segment in just three years demonstrates the quality of project execution and will allow the robustness of the network to be tested before the first users are welcomed.
Following a series of tests in a climatic chamber, which allowed the cars to be tested in extreme winter conditions, REM cars have been circulating on the South Shore since last winter, and more than 200 hours of tests have been conducted. More recently, the speed of the cars was increased to 90 km/h, and automation was tested. Ultimately, each REM car will have travelled more than 500 km before being put into service. In the coming weeks, a carousel will be installed near the Panama Station, which will accelerate the pace of these tests.
A detailed and technical presentation is available by clicking this link:
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