Yesterday, the Canadian government released a statement providing an update on the Lac- Mégantic rail bypass project.
Readers likely remember the horrific derailment of a runaway train loaded with crude oil that exploded in the town of Lac Mégantic in Quebec, killing 47 people. The accident occurred in 2013. Yesterday, the government of Canada updated everyone on the progress of the rail bypass project, which is moving the rail line around Lac Mégantic. The Canadian press release follows.
“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 Ferrada, 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.”