The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is still unable to lower the cost of extending the Pie-IX Bus Rapid Service (SRB) to Notre-Dame Street. A second “revised” tender launched at the end of January, which was supposed to give a lower price, ended up with a “similar price”.

“The amounts of the bids received for the call for tenders for the Notre-Dame lot of the SRB Pie-IX are indeed similar to those obtained during the first call for tenders last year,” the spokeswoman acknowledged on Wednesday. of the Montreal operator, Justine Lord-Dufour. However, it specifies that “the submissions are still being analyzed by all the partners of the integrated project”.

You have to go back to last September to fully understand this file. At the time, the STM had canceled the call for tenders for the extension of the SRB Pie-IX towards Notre-Dame due to an explosion of costs. At that time, two bids had been received, one for 181 million and another for 135 million, while the budget planned by Quebec was only 78 million.

Then, at the end of January, the company announced in La Presse that it was returning to a call for tenders to extend the Pie-IX rapid bus service (SRB) to Notre-Dame Street, a project that had been put on paused last fall due to excessive costs. This time, we promised, the strategy has been “revised” to get a lower bill.

Marc Dionne, the project director of the SRB Pie-IX, had argued in an interview that the cause of this cost explosion was “twofold”. First, the first call for tenders had gone out in June, at the “worst time” for the construction industry, and then the penalties were steep.

The second tender, launched in January, came at a “best time” he said, in order to receive more bids. The STM had also chosen to “assume certain risks”, such as the potential strong market fluctuation, to relieve the bidders.

Alas, none of that seems to have worked, in fact. According to information first reported by Le Journal de Montréal and confirmed by La Presse, two bids for the second call for tenders were received: one at 136 million, and the other at 141 million, a still very high amount. compared to the available budget of 78 million. The two bidding companies are the same as in the first call for tenders, namely the construction companies Pomerleau and EBC.

It was on November 7 that the Pie-IX SRB was finally put into service, with about fifteen stations on Pie-IX Boulevard, without an extension to Notre-Dame. The Société de transport de Montréal then spoke of a trip 30% faster than in a traditional bus.

Under construction since 2019, the SRB was first announced in 2009; it has therefore been discussed for 13 years now. The budget of the SRB Pie-IX had also experienced several cost overruns in recent years.