Deadline for bids on Montreal's light rail project extended until January

On Friday, the Caisse de dépôt announced its decision to "launch a period of sustained discussions" with the two consortiums that qualified for engineering and construction of the project last year.

Decision was expected in November, but Caisse to "launch period of sustained discussions" with two consortiums

The company in charge of building Montreal's $5.5 billion light rail project will not be revealed until February, according to CPDQ Infra, the Caisse de dépôt subsidiary responsible for the project. (Radio-Canada)

The company in charge of building Montreal's $5.5 billion light rail project will not be revealed until February, according to CDPQ Infra, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec's subsidiary responsible for the project.

The announcement was expected in November.

On Friday, the Caisse announced its decision to "launch a period of sustained discussions" with two consortiums that qualified for the engineering and construction of the project last year.

Maxime Chagnon, the Caisse's chief spokesperson, would not say if the bids received were more expensive than expected.

"It's more a question of balance, and therefore of value for money," Chagnon said. "For a project of this magnitude, taking a few more weeks to get better value for money is something quite normal."

The Caisse will remain open to offers until the end of January 2018, and the consortium is expected to be selected by mid-February.

In the meantime, no other consortium than those who qualified last year will be able to bid.

The 67-kilometre electric rail network will connect Montreal's city centre, the South Shore, the West Island, the North Shore, and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

This is the largest public transit project in the Greater Montreal area.

The CDPQ plans to inject three billion dollars into the project, with other funds coming from Quebec and Ottawa.

Work is scheduled to start in spring 2018, according to the latest update from CDPQ Infra. For the time being, the Caisse remains on track for its 2020 target.

With files from Radio-Canada