Timeline of LRT
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:05PM EDT
The largest infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history is not on time or on budget but the public will finally get to ride LRT Saturday afternoon.
It’s a project that’s been years in the making—officially getting the green light from city council in 2012 with Rideau Transit Group (RTG) awarded the contract to build the system.
“A project of this size…there will be many bumps in the road,” said Mayor Jim Watson in 2012.
The $2.1 billion project faced construction and technical delays from the start including in June 2016 when a massive sinkhole opened up in the middle of Rideau Street.
The sinkhole swallowed a van and brought construction work in the area to a halt. The city refused to call it a sinkhole, instead calling it an “infrastructure failure.”
There were also glitches with the trains themselves, including doors that were jamming and issues with brake valves. “Those are error codes that need to be debugged and reset,” said OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi at the time.
During testing, there were a few minor derailments on the tracks.
In early September, the LRT line was disrupted with no trains running for several hours after three radio transmitters in the tunnel shut down.
Originally supposed to be running in May 2018, the project is more than a year late and millions over budget.
RTG missed four deadlines: in May and November of 2018 along with March and August of 2019.
The project reached substantial completion on July 27th.
After that, the city was able to begin the crucial 12 days of trial running during the week of July 29th but more testing was needed before the system was officially handed over to the city on August 30th.
The city deducted $59 million from its final payment to RTG to cover costs related to the delay.
Work has already started on Phase 2 of LRT which will take riders further east to Trim Road, Moodie Drive in the west and to Riverside South with a link to the Ottawa Airport. It’s expected to be completed in 2025.
Stage 3 would connect the Kanata, Stittsville and Barrhaven communities to the downtown core but there have been no funding commitments for that yet.