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Stage 2 of Ottawa LRT faces further delay

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The long-awaited southern extension to Ottawa's light rail network is facing a further delay, a city committee heard Wednesday.

The Trillium Line, which had been scheduled to open by this September, now won't open for the start of the school year.

City staff told the light rail subcommittee on Tuesday that they are hoping that contractor SNC-Lavalin will hand over the project to the city in October.

"Previously we described the August-September timeframe as a stretch target, and the push to late September early October is really a function of making sure we blocked out as much time as possible for training," said director of rail operations Michael Morgan.

"The last schedule there were some stretch targets in terms of completing some specific activities, but we hadn’t finalized the agreement of the training requirements and how much time we wanted on track to finish the training before we started the trial running period. Now we are in a much better place, we have agreed to that, but that has put pressure on the schedule. That is why you are seeing a shift, and we are seeing September-October instead of August-September."

The delay means that for the second straight school year, students at Carleton University will not be able to take the train to and from campus.

Staff did not provide an exact timeline for when passengers will be able to use the Trillium Line, saying it depends on how the system performs in city-run testing.

"There is a 21-day period that is set aside for trial running, seven days is set aside for operational exercises to prove that diversion and different things work," said Morgan. "And there is a requirement that over 14-day period for the system to achieve an availability of 98.5 per cent, basically a rolling average of 98.5. One of the recommendations from the public inquiry was to have somebody, an independent third party, objectively assess that 98.5 per cent and we are looking at that now, who is best placed to do that and who can then present to you that the 98.5 was achieved."

Construction work on the stations and rail installation continues. Morgan told committee he hopes to see end-to-end testing on the line by Aug. 1.

"At the highest level, when you start seeing trains going from Bayview all the way to Limebank, that is an indicator that we are on track."

The Trillium Line, also called Line 2, is the first major extension to Ottawa's light rail transit system. It will extend all the way to Limebank Road in Riverside South and include a spur to the airport.

It replaces the previous O-Train, which ran from Bayview to Greenboro stations.

The project is now more than a full year late from its original planned opening date in 2022.

EAST EXTENSION ALSO DELAYED

The eastern extension to the Confederation Line is also further delayed, committee heard Tuesday.

The line to Trim Road is 51 days behind schedule compared to the last update. Handover to the city is now scheduled for January 2025, with trial running scheduled for January and February of that year.

Rail and the overhead catenary system will be installed, allowing for vehicle testing by the end of the year, officials said.

The Confederation Line west extension is still 17 months late, unchanged from the previous update. It's now scheduled to open in late 2026.

- with files from Leah Larocque, CTV News Ottawa

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