Montreal

Montreal Metro's Blue line extension finally a go, but province says it's behind schedule

The cost of the Blue line extension has ballooned, now estimated to be $6.4 billion, and construction is expected to be completed in 2029.

Project now set for completion in 2029 at a cost of $6.4B

A commuter stands on the platform as a Montreal Metro whips by.
The Quebec government now says the Metro's Blue line extension will be completed in 2029. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

After being discussed for decades, the Montreal Metro's Blue line extension project is back on the rails for good and finally on its way to realization, the Quebec government announced Friday.

But the project will be more expensive than originally planned, and it is three years behind schedule, set for completion in 2029.

The Blue line extension, which in recent years had an estimated price tag of $4.5 billion, is now set to cost $6.4 billion, said Chantal Rouleau, the province's junior transport minister who is also responsible for the Montreal region.

Rouleau announced the plan during a news conference Friday, alongside Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

Rouleau confirmed the plan is still to add five more stations to the Metro line — Pie-IX, Viau, Lacordaire and Langelier, with the terminus being in Anjou.

The Anjou station will now be built under Highway 25, and not on the parking lot site of Galeries d'Anjou — a plan that was sharply contested by the shopping centre's owners.

Cadillac Fairview and Ivanhoé Cambridge went as far as to launch a legal fight when Montreal's transit authority, Société de transport de Montréal (STM), filed an expropriation notice. 

"The Blue line will go to Anjou. The project has been enhanced to open up to an entire population who will now have access to a public transit system worthy of the name," said Rouleau in a statement. 

The province says moving the station to Highway 25 will provide access to the surrounding neighbourhood's and the incoming light-rail network, known as the REM de L'Est. However, that project is now on hold over a dispute with Montreal.

WATCH | Plans for Montreal's Blue line announced: 

Rouleau and Plante unveil final blue line extension plans

5 months ago
Duration 0:58
Chantal Rouleau, right, Quebec's junior transport minister who is also responsible for the Montreal region, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, left, give the green light for a long-awaited extension of the Metro's Blue line.

As for the Blue line extension, the province will foot much of the bill, with the federal government expected to pitch in $1.3 billion. 

Quebec officials also announced a $1.12 billion grant to the Montreal's public transit authority, the STM, to continue planning the Blue line project and fund the Metro's asset maintenance and universal accessibility programs.

Provincial politicians last gathered for an announcement regarding the project during the spring of 2018, six months before the last provincial election. 

Regardless of the delays, Montreal's mayor says this is something her administration wants.

"Our administration has always made mobility a priority and we have worked tirelessly to make the Blue line extension a reality," Plante said in a statement.

Aref Salem, leader of the official opposition, Ensemble Montréal, said residents of the Saint-Léonard and Anjou boroughs have been waiting for this project for more than 40 years. 

While it's good news for those who live in the city's east end, Salem said, he criticized Plante for not maintaining "tight control" over the project's progress. 

"After numerous court cases and a project bill that is increasing by $15 million every month, it took the Quebec government to take the file in hand to finally move forward," said Salem in a statement.

With files from Matt D'Amours and La Presse canadienne

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