Montreal assures that it is discussing with several suppliers in order to identify “better prices” to carry out the extension of the Pie-IX Bus Rapid Service (SRB) to Notre-Dame Street East, which had been put on hold this fall due to excessively high costs.
“We are currently canvassing to see how we are going to return to the market, solicit our partners to get better prices, and above all meet the budgets that we had put forward,” explained the director of mobility projects on Friday. sustainability, David Therrien, on the sidelines of the public study of the City’s 2023 budget.
Mr. Therrien does not hide the fact that we will have to act quickly to find more options. “If we don’t move forward in the next few years, I’m afraid the project will take far too long to come to fruition,” he said. The manager also admits that some of the City’s financial partners – although supporting the idea of an extension – “still have concerns about financial availability in the metropolitan area”.
In September, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) canceled the call for tenders for the extension of the SRB to Notre-Dame due to an explosion in costs. At that time, two bids had been received – one for 181 million and another for 135 million – while the budget planned by Quebec was only 78 million.
“This year, we lost time. […] We must not lose the momentum of this project”, moreover clearly mentioned Mr. Therrien during the public hearing, praising however the rigorous work of the staff at the project office on the SRB, “who knows the file very well”. “This is not a time to interrupt the project,” he insisted.
523 million so far
To date, the extension to rue Notre-Dame Est – which has been put on hold – is still planned. In November, at the time of the inauguration of the complete section on Pie-IX, the principal director of the SRB project Marc Dionne affirmed that the STM could make announcements “soon”.
Initially set at around 300 million, the SRB Pie-IX budget has experienced several cost overruns in recent years. Including the addition of Notre-Dame, the bill for the project had risen to more than 650 million. Officially, the budget is currently 523 million, not counting Notre-Dame.
Ultimately, the City estimates that a “time saving of around 30%” compared to before is possible for SRB users, which will be faster than by car. This corresponds to a gain of about 10 to 15 minutes compared to the 40 minutes previously taken by a trip from the Henri-Bourassa metro station. The buses will be diesel-powered, but the aim is to go electric as soon as possible.
A central number by February
Who should you call in Montreal when a mobility obstacle is blocking traffic? For now, it’s the police, but soon it won’t. By February “at the latest”, the Sustainable Mobility Agency promises to have repatriated all requests for intervention in terms of parking surveillance in its center. “We will be able to give citizens a number that they can systematically call as soon as they see a parking blockage, and the Agency will intervene as quickly as possible. This is a service that will be offered seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I think we will see a net gain for the service offered to citizens,” explained the CEO of the organization, Laurent Chevrot, on Friday.
Fewer modernized traffic lights
The modernization of traffic lights is slowing down in Montreal. Around fifty intersections that were supposed to be made safe this year will not be, in the end, due in particular to the work in the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel and the arrival of COP15 in the metropolis. Of the 250 traffic lights that were to be secured, only 206 will be by the end of 2022. , but also the mitigation measures for the La Fontaine tunnel and also COP15,” conceded the director of the Urbanism and Mobility Department, Lucie Careau, on Friday. “It makes you wonder if the administration has not promised Montrealers an objective that it is unable to achieve,” reacted opposition transport spokesperson Alba Zuniga Ramos.