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City to take control of LRT today — 456 days late

The City of Ottawa is expected to take possession of the Confederation Line today, 456 days and numerous missed deadlines after it was supposed to get the keys to the $2.1-billion LRT system.

At the announcement this afternoon, Mayor Jim Watson will also say when the public will get to enter one of the 13 new stations and ride the electric trains. The grand opening is expected to happen in mid-September.

The original due date for the LRT handover was May 24, 2018. The completion of the LRT project triggers a payment of $202 million to Rideau Transit Group (RTG), the consortium that built the 12.5-kilometre Confederation Line.

But even after the city takes control of the line, there will be further planning and operational drills before the system opens to the public.

Running late

  • May 24, 2018: RTG was originally supposed to deliver the LRT system to the city on May 24, 2018, but in February 2018, the city announced the handover would be pushed back six months to November.
  • Nov. 2, 2018: In September 2018, it became clear RTG would miss the new November deadline, too. OC Transpo boss John Manconi promised transit users would ride the rails sometime in the first few months of 2019.
  • March 31, 2019: At the beginning of March, RTG announced it would miss that third deadline, even though the consortium had recently vowed the line would be ready. RTG promised to hand over the system by the end of June 2019, a full year after it was originally scheduled to be finished.
  • June 30, 2019: It soon became clear RTG wouldn’t make the June handover, either, and there’d be no LRT by Canada Day as previously hoped. In July, a new deadline was set for August.
  • Aug. 16, 2019:  In a memo to council that morning, Manconi said the 12-day trial run was ongoing, and that RTG had made “significant progress.” But the city still had to wait to get the keys.
  • Aug. 23, 2019: 456 days after the first deadline, the city is finally expected to get the keys to the Confederation Line.

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