City of Ottawa reveals plans from preferred builders of LRT Stage 2 development

A photograph of the Blair LRT station, the final stop at the eastern tip of the Confederation Line.
A photograph of the Blair LRT station, the final stop at the eastern tip of the Confederation Line. City of Ottawa

At a special meeting held on Wednesday, Ottawa city councillors and staff revealed the submissions of the two preferred bids to build the second stage of the city’s three-part LRT project.

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Confederation Line (east-west)

For the extension of the Confederation Line, which runs east-west through downtown, the city has tasked East West Connectors — comprised of U.S.-based Kiewit Corp. and French firm Vinci — with extending the line from its current final stop at Tunney’s Pasture to Moodie Drive in the west and from Blair Station to Trim Road in the east.

At the east end of the track, there will be five new stations built as part of Stage 2.

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Montreal, Jeanne d’Arc, Orléans, Place d’Orléans and Trim stations will be added to the system, with construction set to begin in 2019 and slated to end by 2024.

At the west end of the Confederation Line, 11 new stations will be added.

Westboro, Dominion, Cleary, New Orchard and Lincoln Fields stations will be continued from the end of the current phase at Tunney’s Pasture.

At Lincoln Fields, the track will split, and one direction will continue towards Kanata while the other will head towards Algonquin College.

Westward from Lincoln Fields will include Queensview, Pinecrest, Bayshore and Moodie stations. South will include Iris and Baseline stations.

Construction on that leg is slated to begin later this year and is scheduled to be completed by 2025.

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Trillium Line (north-south)

For the extension and update of the Trillium Line, the city has chosen TransitNext — a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin — to develop this portion of the LRT system.

The extension will include eight new stations added on the already existing O-Train stations.

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The train will begin at Bayview Station and make its way to Gladstone, Walkley and Greenboro stations. The track will split at South Keys station towards the airport, heading south.

Towards the airport, the track will include Uplands Station, which will serve those who need to get to the EY Centre, and Airport Station.

Southward, the track continues to Leitrim Station and then heads westward towards Riverside South, reaching Bowesville Station and then Limebank Station.

Construction on this portion is scheduled to begin later this year and is slated to be finished by 2022.

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According to the city, the total cost of the project will be $4.657 billion, over $1.2 billion more than what was initially pitched.

This change, according to the city, was due to several “scope changes” that added an additional $701 million and market pressures, which added the final $591 million. A cost compression of $50 million was achieved by the city despite the jump in price.

The bid for construction of the Trillium Line from TransitNext came in at $663 million, with an aggregate cost of $1.61 billion. Construction of the Confederation Line, according to the EWC bid, clocked in at $2.57 billion.

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Almost half of the funding — $2.36 billion — will come from grants from the provincial and federal governments. The rest will be from tax revenue and development charges.

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While the promise of provincial funding was made by the previous Ontario government, Mayor Jim Watson did meet with Premier Doug Ford earlier this week and remains confident that the promise of funding from the province is still coming.

“It was a very good meeting,” said Watson. “As I’ve said in the past, the premier has told me on a number of occasions he’s on for Phase 2, but out of respect for him and their process, I anticipate we will have some very good news from the province.”

According to city staff, the city is set to incur $700-million worth of debt as a result of this project.

The Ottawa International Airport has also pledged $25 million towards the construction of its part of the Trillium Line station.

Quick turn around

Some councillors voiced their concerns on the actual length of time they will have to look over and share the submissions with their constituents, considering the vote to accept or deny the proposals will be held at council on March 5.

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Coun. Shawn Menard, who asked about the amount of debt the city is going to take on as a result of the project, voiced his concern.

“This is the largest amount of debt incurred by the city in its history, and we only have a week to debate it,” said Menard.