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Canadian Officials To Pay For Rail Bypass Around Lac Megantic

Paul Chiasson
The Canadian Press via AP
Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada, Saturday, July 6, 2013.

It’s been nearly five years since a runaway oil train derailed on a curve in the downtown of Lac Megantic, Quebec, which is not far from the Maine border. Several cars ruptured, their fuel exploding in a fireball that killed 47 people.

Since then, many in the town have wanted the railroad track to go away. Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau granted their wish.

“We are announcing that the railroad track will leave Lac Megantic’s downtown core for good. The government of Canada and the government of Quebec have reached an agreement in principle to jointly fund the rail bypass project,” he said.

Some residents along the bypass route protested the announcement, but Trudeau defended the decision.

“We have worked with, in consultation with the region, the municipality, individuals, trying to find the right path. But any path is going to have consequences on some individuals. Any other path would have consequences on other individuals and landowners,” he said.

Officials say they will try to provide fair monetary compensation for the land that’s needed.

The bypass project is expected to cost $133 million Canadian. Work is to begin next year.