A new track installation approach
At the Côte-Vertu underground garage, innovation and efficiency led the team to opt for a new method of installation on independent twin-blocks, which is now finished.
Along with the built-in electrical system, these new tracks will allow us to manoeuvre our Azur trains efficiently within this imposing structure.
New underground garage nearly completed
Work is 95% finished at the Côte-Vertu underground métro train garage. We are actively planning the gradual commissioning of this new infrastructure for March 2022. In the coming months, we will conduct a series of tests and simulations to ensure that the equipment is working properly and that the implementation goes smoothly.
The fan, so named because of its fan-shaped structure, is essentially a cluster of rails branching out so that trains coming from the Côte-Vertu tail tracks can turn around to face the appropriate tunnel in the garage. Excavated in the early months of the project, the fan was the main access point to this vast underground worksite during the greater bulk of the work. An access ramp allowed concrete mixers and other trucks to deliver their loads to the worksite. Soon, this impressive infrastructure will no longer be visible at surface level, as we are almost finished burying the ramp.
Work on the site’s architecture, mechanical and electrical infrastructure, lighting and ventilation is also nearly completed.
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) was awarded a Platinum Envision recognition for the Côte-Vertu garage project, a first in Canada for a public transit project.
Some aspects of the project that were instrumental in achieving this recognition include:
Mobility and urban planning:
- Conversion of a contaminated wastelot into a new public area, with a future development opportunity on the southern side of the main site.
- Architectural quality and urban integration facilitating the connectivity between sectors and improving community travel.
Worksite impact management:
The choice of materials resulted in:
- A 26% reduction of the materials carbon footprint;
- A recycled materials threshold of 41%;
- 87% of materials meeting responsible procurement criteria;
- 65% of materials were sourced locally.
- LED lights and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems designed to attain 49% in energy savings compared to conventional designs.
- Implementation of bioretention systems and a green roof.
- Species selected for the various landscaping projects for being resilient, pesticide and fertilizer-free, and conducive to biodiversity.
The Platinum recognition is the highest distinction awarded by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). Envision is the top sustainable development tool in North America for major infrastructure projects. The Envision reference framework was developed to cover all the sustainable development aspects of an infrastructure project and each phase of its life cycle (planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance, and end-of-life).
Using the Envision reference framework throughout the project allowed us to:
- Consult and involve stakeholders
- Mitigate construction impacts on our community and environment
- Reduce the impacts of materials used (resource consumption and manufacturing emissions)
- Rehabilitate contaminated land
- Reduce operational impacts (residual materials, water and energy savings, noise and vibration reduction, etc.)
- Improve vegetation cover
- Improve the project’s resilience to climate change
To learn more, visit the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure Website.
The future underground métro garage in images
The maintenance shop is located more than seven stories underground, in the tunnel where maintenance work on rolling stock is conducted
Birdview of the immense 50-metre-wide hole for the fan of tracks.
The maintenance pit can handle a nine-car Azur train.
- Installation of the waterproofing membrane is currently under way on the fan of tracks. The structure will eventually be fully enclosed underground.
Inside this immense structure, a specialized team is working to install the tracks in the tunnel. Specifically, the elevated tracks in the maintenance tunnel are now fully installed. This system of raised tracks provides a much more ergonomic work environment for mechanics when they conduct maintenance on the métro trains.
Over the next months, a number of teams will continue working on installing tracks in the connecting tunnel and the fan. Along with the built-in electrical system, these new tracks will allow us to manoeuvre our Azur trains efficiently within this imposing structure.
Work is also underway on the site’s architecture, mechanical and electrical infrastructure, fire prevention, lighting and ventilation.
The Côte-Vertu garage project
We can currently park 25 trains on the east side of the Orange line at garages at Henri-Bourassa and Montmorency stations, but the west side has only 10 parking spaces at Côte-Vertu station. The new garage will add another 10 parking spaces and balance capacity at both ends of the Orange line. That will allow us to support expected growth in ridership over the coming years and increase the offer of service to keep pace with the extension of the Blue line.
Three surface buildings will be built as part of project. Two auxiliary structures will be used: one to provide an emergency exit for employees and one to provide access to a mechanical ventilation station. The third building will provide access to the underground garage and train maintenance shop. The picture above shows how work is progressing at the shop, where our new Azur trains will be inspected and maintained.
Check out the worksite highlights below!
All precautions are taken to ensure workers’ safety, including an impressive ventilation system to ensure air quality in the underground tunnels.
This 135-tonne machine, called a roadheader, was used to crush the rock and dig the tunnels. This mechanical excavation method replaces blasting and therefore reduces vibrations and nuisances for neighbouring residents.
A project of this size requires meticulous surveying work.
Certain sections of the project include an open pit. Here, we see the future site of the 10-storey structure (seven storeys will be underground), which will provide access to the AZUR train maintenance workshop.
Sprayed concrete is reinforced with small steel fibres and holds the rock in place between the excavation and concrete work phases.
A specialized team installs the reinforcing steel.
Numerous anchor points reinforce the steel structure on the rock.
A blinding slab must first be poured to enable the travelling form to be installed, which allows concrete work to be performed on the vaulted ceiling.
The travelling form is then assembled and used to mould the form of the tunnel so the concrete can be poured.
Excavation of the new tunnel linking the underground garage to the Côte-Vertu station is in full swing! Our teams are working around the clock to build this 600-metre tunnel, 25 metres below street level. By the end of the digging, we will have excavated the equivalent of 14 Olympic swimming pools of rock!
The worksite is like a mine site. All precautions are taken to ensure workers’ safety. Among other measures, the names of the workers on the site are posted at the tunnel entrances.
The roadheader literally crushes the rock, which is then loaded and removed. In technical jargon, this is called “mucking.”
The roadheader has a total of 240 teeth (120 per head).
To ensure equal wear, the teeth are rotated.
Depending on wear, an average of 10 to 30 teeth are changed each day.
The sprayed concrete is 50 millimetres thick. It keeps small pieces of rock from falling from the tunnel wall between the excavation and concreting phases.
To improve adherence, 45 kilograms of steel fibre are added per cubic metre of sprayed concrete. Seen close up, the sprayed concrete wall has thousands of small metallic “hairs.”
Consolidation bolts prevent large chunks of rock from falling.
The artificial cave created by the workers is starting to look more and more like a tunnel where the Azur trains will one day run.
The new infrastructure will meet four main objectives:
- Add track space for parking trains
- Increase passenger capacity by improving frequency of service and by adding more trains on the Orange line during peak period
- Handle the increase in ridership expected in coming years
- Ensure that the offer of service increases to keep pace with the Blue line’s extension
Three surface buildings are necessary for the garage's operations.
The first, three storeys high, will be built on the area above the garage. It will give access to the garage and the employees’ workspace.
Two auxiliary structures will also be built. The first, which will be located near the recreation centre, will serve as an emergency exit for employees. The second, located near the Super C supermarket, will allow access to a mechanical ventilation station and will also be used as an emergency exit.
The underground garage is the most imposing infrastructure that will be built. It will have a yard, located at the garage entrance, that will allow trains to access the tunnels where they can be parked. A connecting track will allow the trains to go between Côte-Vertu station and the garage. Finally, a train maintenance pit will be integrated into the garage to increase efficiency of rolling stock maintenance. The underground garage will be as deep as a 10-storey building.
We needed to add parking spaces at that end of the Orange line to balance out the number of spaces at each end of the line. This will allow us to improve the frequency of service, among other things.
Currently, five trains can be parked on the tail tracks behind Montmorency station and 20 others at the Henri-Bourassa garage. These recent infrastructures, built when the métro was extended into Laval, have certainly helped to maintain service quality. But, no infrastructure has been added to the west end of the line since 1986.
Ten trains are currently parked on Côte-Vertu's tail tracks. The new Côte-Vertu garage will provide an additional ten spaces.
To reduce the noise coming from the cut-and-cover excavation, anti-noise walls will be constructed at the beginning of the work. They will be built near areas where we will perform excavation work. Rigorous monitoring of noise levels and vibrations will allow us to take the appropriate corrective actions.
Blasting generally will be performed from Monday to Friday, once a day, at the end of the day.
The other underground components of the garage will be built using a mechanical tunnel excavation method, which consists of working with a machine called a cutter. This allows efficient excavation of the rock and reduces vibrations. By using this method, we replace excavation by blasting. Since the excavation is underground, it will be performed over a longer period during the week, but without causing nuisances for local residents.
The job site will be watered in a timely manner, particularly during dryer periods, and will mitigate dust release. The streets adjacent to the job site will also be cleaned to prevent dirt from accumulating. Finally, a truck cleaning area will be created within the job site.
A plan has been developed to minimize truck traffic on local streets. Heavy vehicles will mainly take Thimens, Marcel-Laurin and Côte-Vertu boulevards. Building a traffic lane on the worksite will also eliminate on-street traffic.
We must add a switch in the forebay cavern, which will allow trains to be routed straight to the departure platform. This addition will allow us to put trains into service faster. To minimize the impact on customers, we have scheduled to close the station during the summer, as this is one of the least busy periods of the year.
Due to the situation with COVID-19, which caused the temporary closure of construction sites, we have decided to postpone until summer 2021 the closure of Côte-Vertu station. An action plan allowing you to use bus and métro services during the closure will be created. Information will be communicated in early 2021. The postponement should have minimal impact to the project’s overall budget or schedule.
No. The worksite will be located on empty lots that were bought by the STM. The trench excavation site will include a temporary access ramp that will extend all the way down to the bottom of the excavation pit for earth removal. Trucks will enter the site from Marcel-Laurin Boulevard.
Yes. The possibility of a 2-minute interval between trains during rush hour is foreseeable. Today, that interval stands at 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
A mechanical ventilation station performs three essential tasks:
• Comfort ventilation: Regulates indoor temperature for passenger comfort. Trains produce nearly 80% of all heat in the underground network just by braking and accelerating.
• Night-time ventilation: Ensures a supply of fresh air for workers at night carrying out routine maintenance tasks. These workers use diesel engine vehicles to move along the tracks as the power supply is cut off at night.
• Emergency ventilation: Used for smoke control. Provides a safe evacuation route for transit users and a safe access route for firefighters, should an incident occur.
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This project was made possible by funding from the governments of Canada and Quebec through the implementation of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.