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Phase One of Ottawa's Light Rail Nearing Completion

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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Phase one of Ottawa’s new $2.1 billion CAD ($1.5 billion) light rail project is nearing completion, with an opening date slated for the end of April.

Though the original Revenue Service Availability date of Nov. 8, 2018, was missed by project leader Rideau Transit Group, the firm confirmed the new RSA date of March 31 in a letter to the city earlier this month. The delay cost RTG $1 million CAD in penalty fees, however.

Ottawa Light Rail Transit Project

Construction on Ottawa’s new light rail transit project, which is completely grade-separated, began in 2013. The LRT was designed to be futureproof for a century, according to the Daily Hive Vancouver. The first phase of the LRT spans 12.5 kilometers (7.76 miles), running east-west, equipped with 13 stations. Travel time from end-to-end is slated to take less than 25 minutes. A 2.5-kilometer-long tunnel has also replaced the express bus Transitway.

RTG, completing work under a design-build-finance-maintain contract, is composed of SNC-Lavalin, EllisDon, Dragados Canada, Alstom, Hatch Mott MacDonald, MMM Group and Fast + Epp. RTG will be responsible for maintaining the system until 2038, with OC Transpo in charge of operations.

The project agreements mandate that RTG complete all civil work; mechanical and electrical systems; light rail vehicles; elements for customer use, as well as announcement and wayfinding systems; systems performance testing elements; safety certification for the integrated system; successful trial running; and independent safety auditor compliance before the RSA date.

Stations will be equipped with 90-meter platforms, which can be expanded to 120 meters at a later date. Three underground stations will be pre-built to the 120-meter standard.

In terms of funding, $600 million CAD was provided by the federal government, with the provincial government providing another $600 million CAD and the remainder funded by the City of Ottawa.

The project’s second phase will add 14 kilometers of westward-running rail, by 2022, and 12 kilometers of eastward rail, by 2023. Another 19 stations will also supplement the LRT. The beginning of construction is slated to begin shortly after the opening of phase one.

"While there maybe costs that we are incurring, the consortium is incurring bigger costs," said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. "In fact, we owe them now about $262 million [CAD] and they don't get paid until we are satisfied that the date is met at the end of March and all systems are a go."


Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rail; Urban Planning

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