The Government of Canada has announced that it will fund 60 per cent of the construction costs for the Lac-Mégantic bypass. The Government of Quebec will fund the other 40 per cent.
The 12.8 kilometre route was selected based on a feasibility study managed by the municipality of Lac-Mégantic. The federal government has also reached an agreement with the Central Maine & Quebec Railway, the project proponent, which will also own and operate the new rail infrastructure.
According to Transport Canada, the following criteria were used in the comparative analysis:
- Technical characteristics (geometry of the track and grading);
- Human environment (proximity of the route to buildings and communities passed through);
- Land planning (acquisition of permanent right-of-ways, land affected and fragmented);
- Natural environment (crossing of watercourses and wetlands);
- Level crossings; and
- Engineering works (necessary structures) and culverts.
The route selected removes the rail right-of-way from downtown Lac-Mégantic and reduces the number of buildings near the railway.
Supplemental information from Transport Canada also noted that the Government of Canada will have to acquire 82 properties, mostly plots of land, to complete the Lac-Mégantic Bypass Project. Transport Canada has mandated Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to acquire these properties through over-the-counter negotiations.
The Government of Canada provided financial support for the rail bypass feasibility study, which was managed by the municipality of Lac-Mégantic and conducted by the engineering firm AECOM. The next phase of the study will clarify the cost for the rail bypass.