Stage 2 LRT work means chopping trees, moving roads

While ongoing issues with the first stage of Ottawa's LRT system take up much of the oxygen at city hall, construction on  Stage 2 is well underway, and the evidence is hard to miss.

City holding info sessions to keep residents abreast of construction

The City of Ottawa will get another 38 Alstom Citadis Spirit trains for Stage 2.

While ongoing issues with the first stage of Ottawa's LRT system take up much of the oxygen at city hall, construction on  Stage 2 is well underway, and the evidence is hard to miss.

The Trillium Line to the airport and Riverside South will be the first to open in 2022, and has seen the most construction so far by builder SNC-Lavalin. Machines are coring down to bedrock to build the piers that will support the elevated tracks near the Ottawa airport and the EY Centre.

On the Confederation Line, Kiewit and Vinci Group will be shifting lanes on Highway 174 to Orléans to make room to build the track in the median. Similarly, the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway is being shifted toward the Ottawa River for the western section of the LRT to be built.

Alongside those routes, residents have noticed that trees and vegetation have been cut back. Ottawa's rail construction director, Michael Morgan, has said two trees will be planted for every one that is cut down. 

Stations will still be open-air

Many city councillors, however, want to see detailed designs for the Stage 2 light rail stations and are hoping for lessons to be learned from Stage 1, which has seen riders stand in the wet and cold.

"A lot of these stations are out in the open. Don't you think this is a priority now? This is Canada," said Carol Anne Meehan, councillor for Gloucester-South Nepean.

But the possibility of enclosing future stations isn't a realistic one, said OC Transpo general manager John Manconi.

"This is is not a subway system. These are at-grade stations," he said. "To enclose them and heat them, that ship sailed nine years ago when you made the decision to go with this type of system." 

Councillors and commuters have also raised concerns about the crowds at Blair and Tunney's Pasture stations, which funnel commuters from the city's buses onto the LRT.

Manconi said Blair and Tunney's Pasture will only remain transfer stations for a few years until Stage 2 is completed.

The city is holding drop-in information sessions this month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., about the coming construction related to Stage 2 of the LRT:

  • Dec. 3 at the Ukrainian banquet and convention hall at 1000 Byron Ave.
  • Dec. 5 at the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex at 1490 Youville Dr.
  • Dec. 9 at the Churchill Seniors Centre at 345 Richmond Rd.
  • Dec. 11 at Ben Franklin Place
  • Dec. 12 Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre

South to the airport and Riverside South

SNC-Lavalin's $700-million construction of the Trillium Line extension will require the existing track to close starting May 2020. (City of Ottawa)
Near the airport, teams are coring down 30 metres to bedrock to create the foundations and piers for the elevated rails. (City of Ottawa)
The guideway for the Trillium Line tracks is being laid on Bowesville Road near Riverside South. (City of Ottawa)
The latest design for Limebank Station in Riverside South will see the train run above the road. The original plan was for the train to be at grade.

East to Trim Road

Before the Confederation Line is extended east to Trim Road, the lanes of Highway 174 will need to be shifted to make room for the tracks to run in the median. (City of Ottawa)
Highway 174 is being widened and its three lanes shifted to make room for the tracks in the median. Yellow depicts where highway lanes now exist, and green is where they will be in future. (City of Ottawa)

West to Moodie

The final section to open will be the western Confederation Line extension to Algonquin College and Moodie. (City of Ottawa)
The westbound lanes on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway have been shifted closer to the river and the eastbound lanes will make the move in the spring. It's to move the parkway out of the way for LRT builders to dig the cut-and-cover tunnel.