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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Lac-Megantic rail bypass project making progress, Garneau says

Marc Garneau
Photo – Transport Canada


Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau yesterday provided an update on recent developments in the 8-mile rail bypass project near Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Despite many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project is "progressing well," Garneau said in a prepared statement issued by Transport Canada. A number of steps have been reached in recent months or soon will be, he said.

Among them:

  • The feasibility study conduced by infrastructure AECOM will be completed soon, allowing the plans and specifications phase to begin this summer;
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada is continuing the and acquisition process despite the pandemic and slowdown in services;
  • Transport Canada is working with the Waban-Aki and Huron-Wendat First Nations, who have expressed their interest in participating in the archaeological studies;
  • Transport Canada, in collaboration with the Ministere des Transports du Quebec and other partners, is incorporating environmental measures into the project; and
  • Many additional studies have been conducted in recent months, particularly on the birdlife, to ensure that the project complies with the federal Species at Risk Act.

The rail bypass is being built in response to the Lac-Megantic rail disaster of July 2013, when a runaway train carrying crude oil from the United States derailed in the city and exploded, killing 47 people. The fire destroyed the city's center.

In May 2018, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced joint funding for constructing the bypass. The choice of the final route will be based on studies carried out as part of the feasibility study, which AECOM is conducting and the city is overseeing.

Funding to relocate rail operations from Nantes and Frontenac to the Lac-Megantic industrial park will be provided by the federal government (60 percent) and the Quebec government (40 percent).



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