Minor flooding hits new pedestrian tunnel


PHOTO BY SHAWN O’BRIEN

Parents attempting to bring their kids to school August 31 using the new pedestrian tunnel passing under train tracks in Vaudreuil-Dorion were greeting with a wet surprise – the issue was a temporary glitch and has since been resolved.

An unexpected glitch occurred at the new bicycle and pedestrian tunnel that connects Rue des Asters and Rue des Muguets near the municipal arena and educational campuses of the Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs in Vaudreuil-Dorion on Monday, August 31 – the tunnel was partially flooded with water.

One resident made a social media post saying people were carrying their children through the flooded tunnel to keep them dry and that some even crossed the above-ground railway tracks right before a train passed.

‘It won’t happen again’

The minor flooding, which was unexpected was more of an inconvenience, was due to a simple oversight – someone forgot to turn on the water pump after a recent inspection, said Mayor Guy Pilon.

“It was a stupid thing. At the bottom of the tunnel there’s a pump that’s supposed to get rid of the water but the switch wasn’t turned on. It was something that shouldn’t have happened. I promise you it won’t happen again,” Pilon told The Journal during a phone interview September 1.

Dangerous crossing

While some people may have crossed the above-ground, right of way train tracks to avoid the flooded tunnel, Pilon said the tunnel is meant to discourage from people from engaging in this type of dangerous activity. It’s a sentiment that’s shared by exo Director General Sylvain Yelle. Exo is the regional commuter transportation system that operates the rail tracks.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said the minor flooding which occurred in the new pedestrian tunnel that connects Rue des Asters and Rue des Muguets on Monday will not happen again – the tunnel flooded because someone forgot to turn the pump back on after a recent inspection.

Residents will now be able to cross the railway tracks in a completely safe manner via the tunnel which will greatly reduce the risk of an accident. The punctuality and reliability of the exo service on the exo1 Vaudreuil-Hudson line is expected to improve as more people use the tunnel.

“Exo has used its expertise in the railway environment to enable Vaudreuil-Dorion to carry out an important project that improves the quality of life of its citizens by being able to access and use the new tunnel as a right-of-way instead of crossing the train tracks,” said Yelle.

Neighbourhoods connected

The new tunnel not only connects two separate neighbourhoods for the first time, it also allows people with all types of mobility issues to maneuver safely and securely. The access slope is gentle to accommodate people with reduced mobility, including those who use wheelchairs and families with strollers.

A continuous handrail will be installed in early September on each side of the tunnel for people who need extra support. It will be double height, coloured in safety yellow, highly visible and accessible to all users regardless of their size.

Built below projected cost

The city received a $1.744 million subsidy from the provincial Ministry of Transport from its financial assistance program for the development of active transportation in urban areas to carry out the project which was originally pegged at $2.99 million. According to exo's forecasts, the final cost of the work should come in at $2.8 million, which is below its original projection.

“We began talks with the Agence métropolitain de transport (AMT) about the tunnel four years ago before they became exo. We eventually gave them the contract to build the tunnel because exo are the ones who regulate the trains and rail infrastructure. We asked them how much it would cost and they gave us a price. They did it for us and we’re very happy with the result,” said Pilon.

The tunnel will be officially inaugurated next week.

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