Canada provides an update on Lac-Mégantic rail bypass project

From: Transport Canada

We will never forget the Lac‑Mégantic tragedy and the people who lost their lives. Railway safety will always be a priority for the Government of Canada. That is why we are re-affirming our commitment to supporting the people of Lac‑Mégantic and the surrounding area, and to advancing the important Lac‑Mégantic rail bypass project.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Soraya Martinez Ferrara, are announcing that the Government of Canada still intends to complete the rail bypass project in 2023.

We achieved a number of milestones in recent months which have allowed us to move the project forward, despite many challenges, including those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To relocate railway operations to the Lac-Mégantic industrial park, as announced in 2019, we had additional engineering work done. This allowed us to deliver what residents and the mayors of Lac‑Mégantic, Nantes and Frontenac wanted.

The Government of Canada and the rail operator, Canadian Pacific Railway, will start preparing plans and specifications in the coming weeks. Negotiations to acquire the lands will soon begin with the impacted property owners. A virtual information session will be held with them in the near future to answer their questions.

The construction phase is expected to begin in spring 2022. We are working with Canadian Pacific Railway to establish a schedule that will allow us to finish the project in 2023.

This reconstruction project will continue to be a priority for the Government of Canada until the project is successfully completed.

Quotes

“From the start, our government has been committed to completing this project while maintaining open communication with the people of Lac-Mégantic, Frontenac, Nantes and the neighbouring communities. We are working hard to move this project forward within the established time frames. People can count on my support.”

Minister of Transport

The Honourable Omar Alghabra

“It is very important for me to know that the rail bypass project is moving forward, and especially to know that the needs of the families and citizens of Lac-Mégantic, Frontenac and Nantes will be put forward.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Soraya Martinez Ferrada

Quick facts

  • On May 11, 2018, the Canadian and Quebec governments announced joint funding for the construction of the Lac-Mégantic rail bypass. The choice of the final route is based on a number of studies conducted as part of the feasibility study supervised by the City of Lac-Mégantic.

  • The federal government will provide 60% of the funding, and the Quebec government will provide the other 40%.

  • Consultations with Indigenous peoples are going well. Transport Canada is working with the Waban-Aki First Nation and the Huron‑Wendat First Nation, who, during the consultations, expressed their interest in participating in the archaeological studies.

  • Transport Canada is working with the Ministère des Transports du Québec and other partners to integrate into the project, the environmental measures specified by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement, and those identified in the project’s environmental assessment.

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