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LRT launch date to be announced Friday, City of Ottawa says

An image of an OC Transpo light-rail train. City of Ottawa

Ottawa residents will learn on Friday when the long-awaited Confederation LRT line will be finished and the day they can step on board the trains for the first time, the city says.

City officials will announce the delayed train’s handover and public launch dates during a briefing for council members and the media at city hall on Friday afternoon, according to a media advisory the City of Ottawa issued late on Wednesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Rideau Transit Group misses 4th deadline for LRT handover to City of Ottawa

The scheduled briefing will take place a week after the builder of the east-west, 13-stop Confederation Line, the Rideau Transit Group (RTG), missed its fourth official deadline to complete the system and give the keys to the city — August 16.

The LRT system has been undergoing a critical trial run test that began July 29, which it has to pass before the city will accept the train.

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In order for that to happen, the Confederation Line has to mimic the system’s entire service for 12 consecutive days without a major hitch and get a stamp of approval from the city’s independent certifier.

The head of OC Transpo, John Manconi, has said the city will need up to four weeks after RTG hands over the train to prepare the system for launch day. In a memo to city council last Friday, Manconi wrote that the city still expects to open the LRT to the public in September, as announced earlier this summer.

WATCH (Mar. 4, 2019): Ottawa city councillors, staff invited to experience LRT simulator
Click to play video: 'Ottawa city councillors, staff invited to experience LRT simulator' Ottawa city councillors, staff invited to experience LRT simulator
Ottawa city councillors, staff invited to experience LRT simulator – Mar 4, 2019

The Confederation Line was originally supposed to be completed on May 24, 2018. RTG has since missed three additional deadlines: Nov. 2, 2018 and March 31, 2019 and Aug. 16, 2019.

As of Wednesday, the LRT is 455 days late. The city has said it’s fining RTG $1 million for each of the four missed handover dates.

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Mona Fortier, MP for Ottawa-Vanier, federal Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne, and Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jeremy Roberts will also attend Friday’s briefing at 2:30 p.m., according to the city’s advisory.

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