LRT Stage 2: What Ottawa will get for $4.66B
Project has grown from 19 stations to 24
Ottawa city councillors have a big decision to make next week: whether to approve a pair of contracts worth nearly $4.7 billion, the richest procurement the city has ever undertaken.
- LRT expansion balloons by more than $1B
- 4 things you should know about the $4.66B contract for LRT Stage 2
The second stage of Ottawa's light rail project has grown from 30 kilometres of track to 44 kilometres, and from 19 stations to 24, extending the public transit system deeper into the suburbs of Orléans and Riverside South than first envisioned.
The price has grown, too, by $1.2 billion, but only about $700 million of that comes from the add-ons: the rest is thanks to the increasing cost of scarce skilled labour, and the rapidly rising price of materials due to global trade factors far beyond the city's control.
Here's what Ottawa would get for that $4.7 billion.
TransitNEXT, a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, is the city's top pick to extend the Trillium Line to the south, to upgrade existing O-Train stations and to maintain the line for the next three decades.
Originally, the line was supposed to end at Bowesville Road, south of the airport, but the Ontario government committed $50 million and developers Urbandale and Richcraft chipped in another $30 million to stretch it an extra 3.4 kilometres to Limebank station at Riverside South.
In addition to maintaining the line, TransitNEXT would upgrade existing O-Train stations and:
- Build a cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Rideau River near Carleton University, and a pedestrian walkway between Bayview station and Trinity Group's development at 900 Albert St.
- Build a grade-separated crossing for O-Train and Via Rail tracks in the Mooney's Bay area.
- Upgrade the rail tunnel under Dow's Lake.
- Build a new train garage at Walkley station.
Included in the contract is $97 million for seven of Stadler's extra-long FLIRT diesel trains. The city also plans to continue using its existing Alstom LINT trains on the Trillium Line..
Connecting east and west
A joint venture called East-West Connectors came out on top to expand the Confederation Line with a bid worth $2.57 billion. That's nearly $600 million over the cap the city set, but hundreds of millions less than the nearest bidder.
The consortium won't be responsible for maintaining the Confederation Line in the long term. That job already went to Rideau Transit Group, builders of the first stage of light rail.
It, too, has become a larger project than initially planned and includes:
- A train garage just beyond Moodie station.
- A pedestrian walkway over the Queensway to Baxter Road, and two pedestrian underpasses below the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway
- Various bridge and water main upgrades
Nor does East-West Connectors need to build trains. The city has already purchased the 38 vehicles it needs through Rideau Transit Group. They're the same Citadis Spirit model that has been struggling as the project lags behind schedule.