People from the east of Montreal will have to wait a little longer to take the blue metro line to their homes.
The city’s transportation company, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), announced Tuesday that the long-awaited extension of the blue line was once again delayed by two years.
Officials say that while researching the machines and contractors they need, they found that the schedule they had in mind was not possible within the budget.
“During these discussions, bidders expressed certain concerns about the delay in execution,” declared Éric Alan Caldwell, president of the STM board of directors.
The tender went out Tuesday, and officials say they have a budget of $6.4 billion to make it all happen.
The successful bidder will be responsible for the construction of a tunnel using a tunnel boring machine and the land preparation work for some of the future stations.
The delay is disappointing for traders who are banking on the project.
“The more they extend the arrival of the blue line, the longer it will take for the revitalization of the sector to take place,” declared Paul Micheletti, founding member of the Association of Merchants of Rue Jean-Talon Est (SDC Jean -East Heel). .
Micheletti, who is also a business owner, says merchants need the city to put in place temporary measures to make the area attractive to shoppers or risk seeing more businesses close their doors.
“We’ve had this for years. It’s disheartening,” Micheletti said.
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The project faced decades-long delays.
In March last year, things started to move forward when authorities announced that they were already looking for a tunnel boring machine.
“I a*sure you that this is the right time,” said Chantal Rouleau, then the provincial minister responsible for Montreal.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Tuesday, a year and a half later, that it was still the right time.
Although Plante deplores the delays, she says the transportation project is worth it.
“I believe in the blue line. It’s going to take more time, but I’m behind it,” Plante said.
The successful bidder will be announced next year.
The blue line is now expected to start operating in 2030.
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