LRT project manager says search for builder should begin by early fall

Hamilton's LRT line will now run from McMaster University to Eastgate Square, after council voted to move ahead on Wednesday night. City of Hamilton

The request for proposals to build Hamilton’s light rail transit (LRT) project should be issued by late summer or early fall, according to Paul Johnson, the LRT’s project manager. On Wednesday night, city council voted 10-5 to move ahead by submitting the route design to the province.

READ MORE: Hamilton LRT moves forward following council vote

Metrolinx will now update its environmental assessment to reflect a three-kilometre extension to Eastgate Square, and after that, the provincial agency can issue a request for proposals to design, build and operate the 14-kilometre line.

Johnson says running LRT to Eastgate likely means revisiting stops at Parkdale and Nash Roads, and “strengthening rather than replacing” the existing bridge over the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

READ MORE: Nine hours of delegations reflect divisions in community over LRT

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A final budget won’t be known until after bids are opened up, but the province has directed that the project be built within its original $1-billion allocation.

Johnson is confident it can be done if we “sharpen our pencils” and if we “put the pressure on the private sector” to “come through with the best possible price.”

Johnson says the goal is still to award the contract next year and to start construction in 2019.

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