Heavy rains highlight municipal infrastructure problems

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Heavy rains highlight municipal infrastructure problems

The heavy rains that fell on the Montreal region on Tuesday caused water infiltration in some metro stations.

The heavy rains that fell on the greater Montreal area on Tuesday caused damage, flooding a hundred basements of residences and forcing the temporary interruption of service on the orange line of the metro. But they also underline the disuse of the infrastructures which are not able to cope with such large quantities of rain.

At the end of the day on Tuesday, 80 to 100 millimeters of rain fell in a very short time over the metropolitan area. A flood was reported by Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes College in Longueuil, forcing its closure on Wednesday. Durocher College in Saint-Lambert is also closed due to heavy rainfall on Tuesday.

In Longueuil, the areas of rue Saint-Charles and the Laflèche district were particularly affected .

In Montreal, traffic lanes under at least five overpasses have been flooded, City of Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin told the D program first the info,broadcast on ICI RDI on Wednesday morning. There were also several sewer backups and damage to residences. He said many emergency crews were called in on Tuesday, and there were nearly 1,400 calls from citizens reporting problems to city departments.

80 to 100 millimeters of rain fell in the Montreal metropolitan area on Tuesday afternoon.

Square-Victoria–OACI station, which had to be closed in the early evening due to the accumulation of water, could be reopened around 11 p.m. following our pumping and drying operations, explained the corporate public relations advisor of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Philippe Déry.

He also noted that water infiltration was observed in a few other stations last night at the height of the rain, notably Crémazie and Berri-UQAM, but that this had no impact on metro service.

The new stations that will be built, in particular for the extension of the blue line, will be higher above street level, for better protection against runoff water, a affirmed Mr. Déry.

Several sections of roads were also closed due to heavy rains in Montreal, particularly in Rosemont, on the Plateau-Mont-Royal, as well as in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

The bad weather also caused one death. A 52-year-old man from the Laurentians reportedly lost control of his vehicle in Morin-Heights and died, possibly as a result of hydroplaning.

The professor in the Department of Geography at UQAM and director of the Réseau Inondations InterSectoriel du Québec, Philippe Gachon, indicated that these events will be more and more frequent with climate change, and this constitutes a problem for our infrastructures. He made this statement on the show Tout un matin broadcast on ICI Première on Wednesday morning.

For Mr. Gachon, reality is catching up with us. The climate is warming, and we are going to see events like these more and more, he explained. Studies show that the climate is warming faster than expected a few years ago, and that the current [infrastructure] system is not able to accumulate or evacuate very quickly this water which falls with a very high intensity.

However, when the rainwater infrastructure was designed, climate change and the intensity of precipitation were not taken into account, he said. recalled.

The municipal infrastructure that has to deal with this high-intensity precipitation is outdated, added Mr. Gachon, and it would need major investment.

The infrastructure of the city of Montreal fails to evacuate all stormwater during severe weather.

He mentioned that the sewage systems are not adequate, and some of the sewage ends up in the river and streams, and that often during heavy rain events , there are stormwater overflows.

“We need to review part of the infrastructure to ensure that we respect our environment [and] water is treated. »

— Philippe Gachon, professor in the Department of Geography at UQAM

According to Mr. Gachon, stormwater in Montreal goes into the sewers, and during periods of heavy rain, it ends up in the river untreated. Investments would therefore be needed, because we do "patching" right now, said the UQAM professor. And it would also require investments in research to collect data, rather than using assumptions to predict infrastructure needs.

Tuesday, the Union of Quebec Municipalities ( UMQ) asked the next Quebec government to invest $2 billion per year for five years to help municipalities upgrade their infrastructure vulnerable to climate change and support them in their ecological transition.

The City of Montreal will have to invest $300 million over the next 10 years to build infrastructure capable of draining rainwater.

With information from Karine Bastien and Diana Gonzalez

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