Normal service resumes on the metro green line Tuesday morning

"I'm concerned with it, the little cracks," says Tushar Verma, a Montreal metro user, about the 'superficial cracks' found in the system's tunnel that forced the closure of the green line Monday afternoon into the night. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

By Gareth Madoc-Jones & The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Normal service resumed on the Montreal metro’s green line early Tuesday morning after it was shut down Monday afternoon due to ‘superficial cracks’ found in one of the tunnels.

Those wanting to use the metro Monday evening, especially during rush hour, had to find alternative modes of transportation.

For Alyssa and Samantha Munguia, tourists from Austin, Texas, the sudden closure came as a surprise.

“We were just walking down the stairs to get on the Metro, and there were just swarms of people coming up the stairs. And I think the police were behind them. And they were there to talk to us. We didn’t know that there were cracks or know the issue,” said Alyssa Munguia.

“I was really upset because not knowing the area too well here, the Metro was kind of our only form of transportation. So then our phones were about to die, so we had to figure out a way to map back to where we were staying at,” added Samantha Munguia

In a message posted on its website, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) explained that after verifications were made by its experts, it was considered safe to resume service between the Lionel-Groulx station, in the Saint-Henri district, and Frontenac, in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

On Monday evening, the STM had reported that a water leak had detected cracks in the tunnel vault between Berri-UQAM and Saint-Laurent stations, following an evaluation by its engineering team.

“After more than six hours of testing, hammering and observation, the degradation of the concrete is superficial and the integrity of the structure is not compromised,” said Marie-Claude Léonard, STM’s Chief Executive Officer. Léonard added that the STM riders should be reassured that the metro is safe and that it is inspected regularly.

Despite STM’s attempts to reassure the public, the overall feeling about the safety of the metro is mixed.

“It needs to be safe and people should be aware of what is actually happening,” said Anwesha Banerjee, a McGill university graduate student.

“I don’t think it’s super concerning. I think it’s one of those things that a structure that is that old is eventually going to form some cracks. I think it’s a problem if the whole metro is like that, but a small section is probably not the end of the world,” said Marc Creed at the Peel metro station.

“To be honest, I’m concerned with it, the little cracks,” said Tushar Verma at the Guy Concordia metro station.

STM shuts down large portion of green line indefinitely

As a preventive measure, a metal fence will be installed over the next few nights to give STM teams time to carry out the work.

The stations that were affected by the service disruption late Monday afternoon are all located in the downtown area. They are Lionel-Groulx, Atwater, Guy-Concordia, Peel, McGill, Place-des-Arts, Saint-Laurent, Berri-UQAM, Beaudry, Papineau and Frontenac stations.

The STM had asked the City of Montreal to divert heavy vehicle traffic between Berri and Saint-Laurent streets, on de Maisonneuve Boulevard East. This measure was lifted on Tuesday.

The Société de transport de Montréal reports that an inspection plan for the structure of the vaults in all the metro tunnels has been underway for the past few years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French April 25, 2023.

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