OTTAWA -- Construction is officially  underway on the new Light Rail Transit tunnel that will run under the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Byron Linear Park in Ottawa's west-end.

Mayor Jim Watson was joined by Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna and MPP Jeremy Roberts to break ground on the LRT tunnel as part of Stage 2 of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit project.

The Parkway tunnel will be three kilometres long and extend from Dominion Station to north of Lincoln Fields Station, travelling underneath the Sir. John A. Macdonald Parkway and Byron Linear Park.

The city says the Parkway tunnel will be built using a cut and cover construction method.  To prepare for tunnel construction, traffic on the parkway has been shifted, and underground utilities are being relocated.  Excavation will start at the surface and support walls will be installed as the tunnel gets deeper.

The contractor building the Stage 2 east and west O-Train extensions, East-West Connectors (EWC), will build permanent tunnel infrastructure prior to backfilling to surface level. Work will be carried out in stages to minimize impacts on pedestrians, cyclists and traffic.

The Parkway tunnel is one of two cut and cover tunnels in the Stage 2 O-Train West Extension project. The second will be the 270 metre Connaught tunnel that will link Lincoln Fields Station with Queensview Station, travelling under Connaught Avenue.

The Stage 2 West Extension will add 15 kilometres of rail and 11 new stations to extend the Confederation Line from Tunney’s Pasture to Lincoln Fields where it will split, travelling south to Baseline Station and west to Moodie Drive.