Montreal

Work begins on underground REM station by Université de Montréal

Construction began Monday on the new underground light rail station near Université de Montréal, slated to become the second-deepest of its kind in North America, after one in Portland, Ore.

Station will be second-deepest of its kind in North America

The work is being carried out just behind Edouard-Montpetit Metro station. (Radio-Canada)

Construction began Monday on the new underground light rail station near Université de Montréal, slated to become the second-deepest of its kind in North America, after one in Portland, Ore.

Workers will be digging down 20 metres near the Edouard-Montpetit Metro station, as part of the planned light rail system (REM) which is to connect 26 stations across the island of Montreal and beyond.

The work site is located just south of the Metro station, at the corner of Mont-Royal Boulevard and Vincent-D'Indy Avenue.

The REM network is supposed to open by 2022. (CDPQ Infra)

Jean Vincent Lacroix, a spokesperson for the consortium building the new REM, said the only North American station that will be deeper is the Washington Park station in Portland, Ore.

Lacroix said the project comes with challenges, as it's located in such a bustling urban area.

"We have to dig near a lot of different buildings. There's the Université de Montreal. There's other buildings, so we have to have really technical measures to make sure to mitigate all [these challenges] that we have."

Lacroix said most of the work will happen underground, so no road closures are expected, but there will be detours for cyclists and pedestrians.

The work won't mean road closures but pedestrians and cyclists will likely be detoured. (Radio-Canada)

He said once it's completed, the new station will allow commuters to get from Université de Montreal to downtown in three minutes.

As for the university, spokesperson Geneviève O'Meara said the administration is taking steps to limit the impact of the work on students and staff.

They are placing university security agents at intersections during peak times to ensure safety of pedestrians crossing, as well as moving classes which closely border active work sites and monitoring noise and vibration levels.

O'Meara said that while the multi-year project does pose a challenge, it will be worthwhile in the end.

"It will open up our campus in a great way," she said.

The REM is supposed to start operating by 2022.

With files from CBC's Lauren McCallum, Radio-Canada's Louis De Belleval

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