Trudeau International Airport’s Major Cityside Development Program

In fall, 2018, ADM Aéroports de Montréal unveiled its cityside development program— the area that is found before security checkpoints—for the YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport.

Representing an investment of $2.5 billion over the next decade, the cityside development program will be one of the largest private infrastructure projects in Québec. It includes the reconstruction of two major infrastructures facing the airport, namely the multi-level parking lot and the drop-off/pick-up zone. It also includes the construction site for the REM station, Réseau express métropolitain, which will be connected underground to the terminal, 35 metres below the multi-level parking lot. This will provide a rapid connection between the airport and downtown.

Project size and scope

ADM’s plan is an ambitious one and requires tremendous operational agility in its execution, explains Pierre Loyer, Vice President Airport Infrastructure. “To understand the scope of the project, one must consider the reality of an airport environment: an airport is by definition a place that never closes.”

This means that the construction work will have to be carried out on a continuous basis, taking into account the 13,000 employees who work at the terminal, the 12,000 vehicles using the parking spaces, the 55,000 passengers welcomed at YUL every day, and the 30,000 commercial and private vehicles that use the drop-off/pick-up zone.”

Not a small feat.

Logistical and technical challenges await the teams of experts working on the project. “For example, one million cubic metres of rock will have to be excavated to build the REM underground station,” says Loyer. “This represents about 100,000 trucks, the equivalent of a convoy from Montréal to Washington. The amount of reinforced concrete used for the construction of a parking facility corresponds to the amount contained in eight Olympic pools.”


What was the impetus behind starting the project?

YUL is the third largest airport in Canada, with 19.4 million passengers in 2018, an increase of 1.3 million over the previous year. YUL’s passenger traffic has also climbed by 38 per cent over the last five years.

This growth is enviable but is creating added pressure on the facilities. The access infrastructure on the cityside is at full capacity and at the end of its useful life. The planned work will ensure passenger access remains as convenient as possible while maintaining a high level of service.

Economic impact of the project

Montréal-Trudeau is the main gateway to the city and therefore an important economic driver. A Conference Board study found that operations on the YUL airport site contributed nearly $6.8 billion to Québec’s GDP in single year. The site alone includes nearly 200 companies and provides 28,995 direct jobs.

“This makes it one of Québec’s most important economic hubs. This macroeconomic perspective allows us to appreciate the significant benefit the YUL site development will have for Québec as a whole,” says Loyer. “YUL’s ability to meet the demand for flights and provide a world-class passenger experience is therefore critical to its success and to the prosperity of Greater Montréal and Québec.”

Notable Innovations involved in the construction

Loyer says the team aims to obtain Envision certification—a framework that provides guidance needed to initiate the planning, design and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure— for the various components of the program.
“To help us achieve this, we will be integrating the principles of sustainable development at every stage of the project,” says Loyer. “This will result in the implementation of several initiatives, such as the use of electric shuttles, eventually autonomous, to connect our new P4 parking lot to the terminal. Our parking lot will be completely covered with a green roof. For all demolition work, we will recycle concrete and use it as backfill material. We also want to install solar panels and are studying the possibility of storing electricity and geothermal energy by building geothermal wells.”


Are there plans for the project completion?

The construction of the REM station, fully financed by ADM, will be completed in 2023.

“We recently announced that the consortium of Pomerleau, SNC-Lavalin and Construction Kiewit Cie (PSK) has been awarded a construction management contract for the execution of this major cityside development program,” add Loyer. “Under this initial five-year contract, PSK will act as a partner and key collaborator throughout the execution of the work. The consortium’s mandate includes managing the program’s design, assessing constructability, and identifying opportunities to optimize the schedule and phasing of construction.”