Ottawa

City breaks promise to eliminate LRT street-level construction by June

Tourists and residents visiting Ottawa's downtown during the big summer of Canada's 150th birthday will still see some signs of light rail construction above ground, despite earlier promises it would be cleaned up for the 2017 festivities.

'The sinkhole did cause some setbacks,' transit GM says

Pedestrians cross at the intersection of Bank and Sparks Streets in downtown Ottawa on Aug. 31, 2016. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Tourists and residents visiting Ottawa's downtown during the big summer of Canada's 150th birthday will still see some signs of light rail construction above ground, despite earlier promises it would be cleaned up for the 2017 festivities. 

The train is set to start running in 2018, although the city has not named a specific date.

That said, the original project agreement stipulated light rail's "core elements" downtown would be completed by June 1, 2017, and the city has described in past technical briefings its goal was to not disrupt 2017 celebrations with street-level construction.

"The sinkhole did cause some setbacks. And it will affect things like how clean and ready Rideau Street will be," said John Manconi, the city's general manager of transportation.
Ottawa's general manager of transportation, John Manconi, helped launch a campaign in April 2017 designed to inform residents about the transition to light rail transit. (Kate Porter/CBC)

The months of delays caused by the sinkhole that opened in front of the Rideau Centre in June 2016 mean the city has to work with the contractor, Rideau Transit Group, to make it a "very good-looking street, to the best of our ability, by Canada Day," said Manconi.

There will be sidewalks made of asphalt instead of permanent ones, said Manconi. 

Rideau Transit Group will move equipment out of the way and pay to put up construction hoarding plastered with information about the city's campaign to get transit riders ready for the transition to light rail.

"So it'll be much improved from what it is now. But will it be perfect? No," said Manconi.

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