No firm date for LRT completion after year-long delay

There is still no firm date for the completion of the $2.1-billion Confederation Line, which has been delayed by more than a year.

But if the Rideau Transit Group — the consortium building the 12.5-kilometre light rail system — continues to progress at its current pace, the LRT could be handed over to the city by Canada Day, said John Manconi, the city’s general manager of transportation.

Manconi delivered his monthly update on the LRT project to the finance and economic development committee on Tuesday morning. He confirmed RTG doesn’t have to provide a new completion date until May 31. Passengers would not begin riding the LRT until at least several weeks after the city takes over the LRT.

Trending well: Manconi

Manconi listed off a number of positive trends of the project:

  • The city has taken occupancy of nine of the 13 stations: Blair, Cyrville, Tremblay, Lees, uOttawa, Hurdman, Pimisi, Bayview, and Tunney’s Pasture.
  • All 34 light rail vehicles are completed and being tested.
  • Thales, the company that provided the on-board communications system, has signed off on 29 of 34 vehicles.
  • Twenty LRT vehicles have been operating at the same time “numerous times,” although it’s unclear how often those runs have taken place, or how long they’ve lasted. When the LRT is operating, 30 vehicles — coupled into 15 trains — need to run at the same time.
  • A smoke test in the connector tunnel at the Belfast maintenance and storage facility was successful.

The network has also been “powering down” the last couple of weekends, Manconi said, for work on the overhead electrical system.

Watson not worried about quality

Responding to an Ottawa Citizen report about problematic waterproofing in the downtown tunnel, Mayor Jim Watson said he wasn’t concerned about the quality of the project’s work.

The mayor likened the $2.1-billion undertaking to his purchase of a new semi-detached house in the west end, which also had problems that needed to be addressed.

“The is a much larger scale, and there are going to be deficiencies. But the whole point of us catching these deficiencies is to correct them before the system goes into effect,” Watson told reporters after the meeting.

“We’re going to be handed over the keys to a system that is fully operational and entirely safe,” he added.

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