Lac-Mégantic bypass

Contribution from the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada confirmed on May 11, 2018, that it would fund 60% of the construction costs of the Lac-Mégantic bypass. The Government of Quebec will fund the other 40%. The project will be managed by the Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQR), which will own the bypass.

Lac-Mégantic bypass map

Why this route?

The choice of the final route is based on numerous studies undertaken as part of a feasibility study, and the recommendation put forward in the results of Phase 1B, namely, a 12.8 km route estimated at $133 million.

The following criteria were used for the comparative analysis:

  • Technical characteristics (geometry of the track and grading)
  • Human environment (proximity of the route to buildings and communities passed through)
  • Land planning (acquisition of permanent right-of-ways, land affected and fragmented)
  • Natural environment (crossing of watercourses and wetlands)
  • Level crossings
  • Engineering works (necessary structures) and culverts

The route selected removes the rail right-of-way from downtown Lac-Mégantic and reduces the number of buildings near the railway.

Key steps

The Government of Canada will continue to work with all involved, including the Government of Quebec, the municipalities and the CMQR, until construction of the bypass completed. The main steps in the project include:

  1. Geotechnical Work – Completed (2018-2019)
  2. Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) hearings – Completed (Summer 2019)
  3. Property acquisition process (ongoing) – 2019-2020
  4. Final preliminary draft – Spring 2020
  5. Plans and specifications – 2020
  6. Construction – Between 2020-2022
  7. Commissioning of the bypass route – 2023
  8. Decommissioning of the existing track – 2023

Acquisition of property

The Government of Canada will have to acquire 80 properties, mostly plots of land, to complete the Lac-Mégantic Bypass Project. These properties belong to 41 owners, including the City of Lac-Mégantic and the Ministère des Transports du Québec. Transport Canada has mandated Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to acquire these properties through over-the-counter negotiations.

PSPC is in communication with the owners affected by the land acquisition. In fall 2019, the acquisition process started with the land survey and the evaluation of each property. In 2020, over-the-counter negotiations will be held between PSPC and the owners, which will lead to signing the promises to purchase.

For more information about the procurement process, please contact PSPC at: 1-819-583-1690.

Owner outside of the rail right-of-way

The procurement process will only be for the properties that are included in the rail right-of-way. For those adjacent to the bypass right-of-way, mitigation measures are planned for reducing the impact on daily life. For example, there are plans to provide abatement walls are in some places. However, no financial compensation will be provided for properties located outside the bypass.


Railway crossties are planned to allow access to the lots that will be cut in two by the bypass. Not all properties will have crossties, and pathways along the way are planned in some areas. An overpass will also cross the right-of-way where the railway will be located.

Final Preliminary Draft

The feasibility study on the bypass project conducted by AECOM will end with the submission of the final preliminary draft.

This report will provide more detailed technical data and refine the selected route. The final preliminary draft and its recommendations will be transmitted to CMQ, which will be responsible for designing the plans and specifications of the bypass. The submission of the report is scheduled for spring 2020.

Plans and specifications, construction and decommissioning of the existing track

CMQ will be responsible for the plans and specifications, and the construction of the bypass.

The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Government of Quebec, will implement monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the project meets the expectations and requirements for both levels of government. Notably, Transport Canada will hire an engineering firm to provide support for this purpose.

Once the bypass is in operation, CMQ will dismantle the existing rail and transfer the land to Transport Canada. Decontamination work may be carried out dependent on the future use of the land. The Government of Canada intends to transfer these lands to municipalities for public use.


You can contact the project team via email at: or by telephone at: 613-998-8137.