Montreal is one step closer to becoming a megacity.

On Thursday a Quebec Superior Court judge rejected efforts by a group of 20 municipalities who want to stop their merger with the city.

The group argued that their anglophone identity would be threatened if their municipalities were forced into a megacity merger.

But in his 80-page ruling the judge said their constitutional rights would not be violated if they joined with Montreal.

Quebec's National Assembly passed Bill 170 last year. It will amalgamate dozens of municipalities during a one-year phase-in period.

The amalgamation will create megacities in Montreal, Longueuil, Quebec City, Levis and Hull-Gatineau.

Montreal's merger will almost double the city's population to two million.

Since the bill was passed, residents of the municipalities have held numerous protests.

The merger is set to take effect next year. Thursday's ruling is expecyted to be appealed.