A $ 133 million bypass in Lac-Megantic

Lac-Mégantic will have its rail bypass. Construction of the infrastructure could begin in 2019 and last two years for a $ 133 million bill.
The he first ministers Justin Trudeau and Philippe Couillard and “several members of their teams” are expected in Lac-Mégantic Friday morning to make the announcement.

The bill will be assumed 60% by the federal and 40% by the provincial, according to the details of the agreement reached between the two levels of government that sank in La Presse Tuesday.

Local officials believe that the route chosen for this long-awaited five-year bypass route will be the one recommended by the BAPE last summer, but they had no official confirmation to this effect on Tuesday.

“We feel that governments will privilege this, but we will let them announce it and explain it. We are just glad that there is finally an announcement, “said the Mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Julie Morin.

“It’s been a long time since we waited. Finally we arrived there! She says.

This route, option 3 according to the documents of the Bureau of Public Hearings on the Environment, has a total length of 11 kilometers. The new section would deviate from the existing site west of Frontenac, cross the Chaudière River south of the Highway 161 road bridge, follow the existing railways of the Lac-Mégantic industrial park and join the existing railway line to the east. intersection of Highways 161 and 263.

Governments have probably ruled out alternative routes proposed by the neighboring municipalities of Frontenac and Nantes, in consultation with Lac-Mégantic, with the aim of achieving greater social acceptability at home.

Even if the Town of Lac-Mégantic had obtained additional funds at the end of 2017 to analyze these two variants on the suggested route.


Mayor Morin is aware that Friday’s announcement could reignite tensions in the population because of the route chosen.

Because to get out of the train downtown still rebuilding almost five years after the tragedy that took away 47 people, it will be necessary to move elsewhere.

In Lac-Mégantic alone, some 20 citizens, businesses and farmland would be directly impacted by the new section.

The City has taken the lead by meeting them in small groups since Monday to inform them.

“We did not want them to learn it in front of 200 people at the sports center,” says Morin.

“The reactions are mixed, but regardless of the route, we knew that there would be impacts on citizens. You can not expect a major project like this to have no impact. ”

Just last month, Mayor Morin and her counterparts Gaby Gendron of Frontenac and Jacques Breton of Nantes had also sent a letter to the two premiers and the two ministers of transport to reiterate the need for a bypass while reiterating the importance of minimizing “the significant collateral impacts of relocating the railway near certain homes or land”.

Without going so far as to say that this would explain the choice of option 3, Julie Morin concedes that the variants of the route represented a “substantially” higher bill.

“From the moment there is an announcement,” she says, “our priority now is to support citizens and support them in their dealings with their property. ”

“These people are also victims of July 6, 2013,” she says.

In January, Transport Minister Marc Garneau urged the Couillard government to do its part to make this project a reality. He had expressed the wish to announce the details of the construction of the bypass before the fifth anniversary of this tragedy, July 6, 2018.

Friday’s announcement will be followed, in the afternoon, by an information meeting for citizens where stakeholders will be available to answer their specific questions. The meeting will take place at the Mégantic Sports Center. The time remains to be confirmed.

Mayor Julie Morin is aware that the announcement of the route could reignite tensions in the population. Whatever the route, there will be impacts on citizens, “she says.
Mayor Julie Morin is aware that the announcement of the route could reignite tensions in the population. Whatever the route, there will be impacts on citizens, “she says.
The Mayor of Frontenac wants to hear his displeasure

The Mayor of Frontenac spent the day Tuesday to contact his fellow citizens to inform them of the announcement that will be made Friday in Lac-Mégantic.

“I do not know the turn that will take, warns Gaby Gendron, but the route does not reach consensus in the three municipalities it crosses. I make calls for there to be the most Frontenac citizens present on Friday. ”

“From the beginning,” he continues, “we are aware that governments pay. Our citizens did not want the bypass and we were able to make them understand that it was better to make compromises “, except that their compromises do not seem to have been accepted by the governments. he.

Mayor Gendron’s main criticism is that the railway would split agricultural land in Frontenac territory in two rather than crossing the square-line (division) of the lots.

According to the information he has obtained, the route chosen does not take account of this particularity for a question of costs.

“From the beginning, Frontenac says that if it does not pass the line-square, it will not work,” warns Mr. Gendron.

Although he has fought hard for three years to obtain this bypass in Lac-Mégantic, the spokesperson of the Coalition of Citizens and Agencies committed to railway safety Robert Bellefleur, had reservations that go in the same direction Tuesday.

“I think that Frontenac and Nantes had made representations and requests to find a compromise there. I think they will be disappointed. We would have preferred a bypass that protects and unites the people of the three communities, not a bypass that divides them. We want a unifying solution, “he said in an interview with La Tribune.

“You do not just have to look at the costs, you have to look at the social costs,” he says. The population of Lac-Mégantic has suffered enough. ”

For her part, the prefect of the Granit RCM, Marielle Fecteau, pleaded for the file to move in harmony.

“Of course, there are people who will be affected,” she says. We’ll see in due time, when they make the official announcement of the route and all that, but it can not pass and nobody realizes it. The important thing for us, as a community, is that the people who will be impacted are well accompanied and have good arrangements. We wanted a bypass and that this way brings security back into the population. There is surely a solution. ”

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