A leaked report shows the Dorval Circle project – including its overpass to nowhere – will be finished at least three years late and cost as much as $350 million over initial estimates.
When the Dorval Circle project was first announced in 2005, it was slated to wrap up by 2016 and cost about $150 million. The leaked memo states it will cost at least $500 million and won't be finished until 2019 at the earliest.
Dorval mayor Edgar Rouleau said he is "disappointed," but not surprised by the news of the delay.
"Now, you figure if they're saying 2019, it will probably be delayed even longer than that," he said. "It's not a surprise, given the way the project has been handled up to now," he added.
Construction on the project began in 2009, but was interrupted by a court injunction brought by a business near the circle, forcing the project to be changed slightly and bringing about delays – but observers say progress has been glacial since a lane on westbound Highway 20 between 32nd Ave. in Lachine was closed last August. La Presse first reported on the leaked memo last Thursday.
In the report, the absence of "qualified and responsible people in key positions," was cited, as well as an incoherent management structure that has thus far failed to reconcile the needs of the project's main stakeholders – commuters, airport travelers and West Island motorists – and very little actual progress has been achieved on the project. No visible progress has been seen recently. Rouleau said the level of inactivity and more delays just do not work for him – or for his constituents.
"Not much seems to be going on. This is not acceptable for Dorval residents. What we're going to do now, I don't know, but they can't continue to keep the whole (community) hostage like this. It's not just Dorval that is suffering, it's the whole province of Quebec that has to suffer," he said.
Transport Ministry spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun said a 2011 Quebec Treasury Board edict that divided the Dorval Circle project into two entities – a highway construction project and a rail project – and because no agreement has yet been reached between the 10 stakeholders in the rail project, the highway project will remain unfinished until at least 205.
"It's a complex project and we have to build a consensus with our 10 partners," which includes Canadian Pacific railways, Canadian National railways, Dorval and Aeroports de Montreal, Bensadoun said.
La Presse also reported that all rail projects, including the Train de l'Ouest project, have been "suspended" for the moment until a consensus can be reached between the wishes of the airport, which is to have a dedicated shuttle train from downtown serving only the airport, and the Train de l'Ouest project, which would see commuter-train service run all day from downtown to Vaudreuil-Dorion every half hour. Currently, only a few trains run to and from downtown outside of daily rush hours.