Ottawa

Ottawa's top LRT planner stepping down

Chris Swail, the senior city staffer who has overseen the planning of Ottawa's $4.66-billion Stage 2 LRT project, is stepping down.

Chris Swail has been public face of Stage 2 expansion

Chris Swail, director of O-Train planning, has overseen Stage 2 LRT since early 2015. (CBC)

Chris Swail, the senior city staffer who has overseen the planning of Ottawa's $4.66-billion Stage 2 LRT project, is stepping down.

As director of O-Train planning, Swail has spent the last four years shaping the expansion project.

As the public face of the project, he's also been in the hot seat recently.

The contracts for the project include a $1.6-billion deal with SNC-Lavalin that's now under investigation by the city's auditor general over questions about how the company won the bid without meeting certain technical requirements.

The cost of the project also ballooned, rising more than $1 billion from original estimates.

Swail was also involved in the $2.1-billion Stage 1 LRT project from Tunney's Pasture to Blair station, which has missed several deadlines and is yet to open to the public.

In a memo to councillors announcing Swail's departure, transportation general manager John Manconi said Swail is taking time off to be with his family.

Manconi said Swail had been working with the city's transportation services department for more than a year on a plan for "a smooth and comprehensive changeover."

Swail's last day on the job is Friday.

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