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Trillium Line launch delayed until spring 2024

Passengers will not be boarding the Trillium Line until the spring of 2024, as construction continues on the new north-south light-rail transit line between Bayview Station and Riverside South.

Transit Services general manager Renee Amilcar says based on the progress to date, a possible launch in November is no longer possible.

"In order to be as cautious and prudent as possible, we believe it's the public interest to target a handover from the contractor as soon as possible, but to plan for opening the system to the public in spring 2024," Amilcar told the light-rail transit subcommittee meeting on Friday.

"This decision will provide city staff and the maintenance team with a longer runway to finalize training and fully exercise the system before it opens to the public."

Amilcar wouldn't give a firm commitment on an opening date, but suggested the transit service is aiming for the launch of the Trillium Line in April.

Staff say final construction activity, testing and commissioning are "well underway" on the Trillium Line, but only five of the nine trains are currently operating during testing on the transit system.

TransitNext was contracted to build and maintain the Trillium Line between Bayview Station and Riverside South, with a spur to the Ottawa Airport.

Construction was originally scheduled to be completed in August 2022, but was delayed until September 2023. As of this summer, the target date for launch was November.

The LRT subcommittee received its first look at the scoreboard for the testing and preparations for launch, which looks at the status of all "critical elements" to launch the LRT system.

Staff say all the elements are currently at a "no-go" for launch.

"We are having some challenges and the progress isn't as quick as expected on systems, installation and testing and commissioning of those systems," Justin Kurosky, program manager of Trillium Line handover, told councillors.

Work to be completed include testing of the ventilation system in the tunnel in October, testing of the maintenance contractor's performance and final testing of the system with nine trains is "outstanding." Amilcar says OC Transpo is behind on training staff since only five trains started running on the Trillium Line last week.

The committee was told on Friday that power has been connected at both Dow's Lake Station and South Keys station, and work is underway to commission the elevators and systems at the stations. The Hydro Ottawa strike was blamed for delays in connecting electricity to Dow's Lake and South Keys stations this summer.

Amilcar says the contractor is expected to finish the "majority of the work by the end of November," but there is the "possibility that some remaining work could slip further."

"Demonstrating nine trains in service is an important milestone in the process, but it is a more important to demonstrate that the service is reliable over an extended running time," Amilcar said. "This additional time, including during winter, will be used to further test, monitor and observe performance of the system."

Amilcar says the train control system for the Trillium Line is "unique," so OC Transpo and TransitNext "need a lot more testing."

"Knowing this, I'm asking that the test be even more numerous than we anticipated."

Building occupancy permits have not been issued for any of the 13 stations along the Trillium Line, which would allow public access for passenger service. Staff say all systems, including cameras, telephones, passenger information displays, intrusion access control and fire alarms, are 80 per cent installed and testing and commissioning is in progress.

When it comes to the park and ride facilities at Leitrim, Bowesville and Limebank stations, paving for the parking lots is scheduled for October.

Amilcar says the extended testing will ensure it is "ready for service" and will give staff a chance to look for any "latent or hidden defects."

"We acknowledge that our customers will be disappointed by this news, but we have heard from you very clearly that Ottawa doesn't want to see a system that has been rushed into service." Top Stories

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