Downtown Lac-Mégantic officially reopens 3 years after deadly train explosion

The downtown core of Lac-Mégantic, Que., is officially reopen.

Residents access downtown core again, on same day DOT-111 cars banned from transporting oil

Downtown Lac-Mégantic is reopen to traffic for the first time since the 2013 train derailment that killed 47 people. (Radio-Canada)

The downtown core of Lac-Mégantic, Que., is officially reopen.

Residents can now drive, walk or bike through the area for the first time since a deadly train explosion destroyed the town's core and killed 47 people.

On Tuesday at 11 a.m., workers removed cones that, for more than three years, had blocked off access to Frontenac Street.

Seeing cars driving along the newly-paved downtown road moved Lac-Mégantic Mayor Jean-Guy Cloutier to tears.

"We are experiencing an extraordinary emotion. I have never felt this in my life – in my career. Off we go, and I think our citizens will be happy. There will be lots of traffic coming through here."

The reopening of Lac-Megantic's downtown core is the latest in a series of events that mark a new chapter for the town.

Last week, a health and beauty centre opened its doors, becoming the first business to set up in the devastated area known as the "red zone."

There is also a residential construction project underway there. At least 60 per cent of the downtown land available for development is already reserved.

DOT-111 cars phased out

Frontenac Street was reopen to traffic on the same day that DOT-111 rail tanker cars were prohibited from transporting oil in Canada.
An unattended 74-car freight train carrying crude oil ran away and derailed, resulting in the fire and explosion that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Que., in July 2013. (CBC)

Earlier this summer, Ottawa announced that, as of November, it would be phasing out the cars, which were involved in the deadly rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic. 

By 2025, it will be prohibited to transport any flammable liquids in the cars.

With files from CBC reporter Antoni Nerestant