A 6.5 Billion Third Link: Is Quebec Underestimating the Unexpected? † 3rd link

The Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) confirms that this part of the envelope, called related costsincludes several elements: risk management reserves, inflation costs, financing costs, labor costs, etc.

This range of 10% to 35% is the same as for the first version of the project. However, because the related costs are now included in a more modest envelope, the amount available for contingencies has also been reduced.

In order not to disrupt the tender process, the ministry never discloses the details of its estimates.however, indicates by e-mail that the spokesperson for the MTQBryan Gelinas. It is therefore impossible to know how much is estimated, only the possible cost overruns or the amounts set aside to account for inflation, for example.

However, during his press conference, Minister Bonnardel confirmed that the risk surrounding the new two-tunnel project had been “well estimated” and that it was lower than during the initial design.

Quebec’s Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, during the unveiling of the new version of the third link.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pascal Poinlane

The upper limit of 35% for additional costs seems to be Quite small in the eyes of engineer Bruno Massicotte, professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal.

After conducting his own study in 2016 for a tunnel between Quebec and Lévis that would pass through the western tip of Île d’Orléans, the expert recalls that the less advanced a project, the greater the uncertainty about the financial plan.

The estimated $6.5 billion appears to him as: a bottom pricehe admits.

For this to happen, the preparatory work, the drilling and all that must be at a very advanced stage, perhaps beyond the information that has been publicly passed on.

A quote from Bruno Massicotte, professor of civil engineering at Polytechnique Montréal

Various unknown elements

The third link, which is in the concept phase, still contains many unknown elements. For example, the diameter of the two tunnels now planned by the MTQ has not yet been confirmed.

It now concerns a width that fluctuates between 12 and 15 meters. However, according to Professor Massicotte, there can be a difference of about 30% in the final cost of the work between these two dimensions.

In addition, the soil characterization, which started in 2019, is not complete. Deep-sea drilling at sea will not start until this summer.

However, according to Professor Massicotte, the nature of the soil is the biggest source of cost variation in a tunnel project, because of all the surprises that can arise when digging.

He also points out that the terrain is not the same everywhere along the 8.3 kilometer route planned for the third link. He also recalls that experts fear the presence of a deep gorge in the river’s basement.

The nature of the ground changes a lot along the route. It influences the choice of tunnel boring machine and it also leads to construction methods that differ from place to place.

A quote from Bruno Massicotte, professor of civil engineering at Polytechnique Montréal

All of this leads Professor Massicotte to say that we won’t be able to get a really clear picture of the true costs associated with the construction of the third link until a few years from now, including completion is slated for 2032.

View data

This is also the view of Jean-Philippe Meloche, professor at the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal. It remains very rough as an estimatehe says of the $6.5 billion envelope.

Jean-Philippe Meloche, professor at the School of Urbanism and Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal

Jean-Philippe Meloche, professor at the School of Urbanism and Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal

Photo: Jean-Philippe Meloche

milliards de dollars”,”text”:”En 2032, on ne parlera plus avec les mêmes dollars. On ne parlera plus avec les mêmes taux d’actualisation. On ne parlera pas des conditions d’aujourd’hui. Donc, c’est fort probable que la facture qu’on va payer en 2032 ne sera pas le[s] 6,5milliards de dollars”}}”>In 2032 we will no longer be talking with the same dollars. We will not speak with the same discount percentages again. We will not talk about today’s circumstances. So it is very likely that the bill we will pay in 2032 will not be the…[s] $6.5 billionhe says.

It is quite possible that in the tendering process we realize that there is no company in the world that can do that within the appropriate envelope.

A quote from Jean-Philippe Meloche, professor at the School of Urbanism and Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal

Professor Meloche also wonders what data the MTQ justifies a project of such magnitude. milliards de dollars”,”text”:”Je pense que ce serait très rassurant de la part du ministère des Transports de révéler les études qui nous montrent qu’on a des bénéfices à la hauteur de 6,5milliards de dollars”}}”>I think it would be very reassuring if the Department of Transportation revealed the studies that show us we have benefits of up to $6.5 billionhe says.

At this point, the MTQ insists that many analyzes in this direction have been carried out as part of the opportunity study [et que] these analyzes are drawn up and made public at the latest when the business case is established

During his press conference, Minister Bonnardel mentioned the year 2025 for the filing of this business file.

Leave a Comment