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City of Ottawa poised to construct $750-million transit line

For the past few weeks, engineers on the team expected to design and build a $750-million light rapid transit line ...


For the past few weeks, engineers on the team expected to design and build a $750-million light rapid transit line in Ottawa have been meeting with the public in open houses to explain the project.
Ottawa City Council is due to vote on the contract with the Siemens/PCL-Dufferin consortium on July 12. The consortium was chosen from a shortlist to engineer, build and maintain the system for 15 years. Stantec Consulting is the lead civil engineer on the consortium, and is also doing architecture and urban design. Jacques Whitford is geotechnical engineer, URS Canada is designer of civil works.
The new line will extend from the existing O-Train system, adding 30 kilometres and 23 stations. If approved, the project will be the city’s most expensive infrastructure project ever.
The route extends from the University of Ottawa, through the downtown core along Salter and Albert Streets to Carleton University, then south, ending at Barrhaven Town Centre. There will be a new maintenance centre and three park-and-ride centres. The line is expected to carry 43,500 passengers per day when it is completed in 2009.
The project has received environmental approvals, but some councillors were still reportedly unhappy about some aspects of the budgeting — mostly the extension to Barrhaven which is to cost an additional $24 million. The total cost is $744.2 million. About $400 million of that is coming from the federal and provincial governments. The city is hoping to fund its portion through development charges and gas taxes.
The new line is being built based on the success of the O-Train, which was a pilot project launched in 2001 and has been very successful.
In other public transit news, Quebec province has announced plans to add $130 million to improving bus, metro and commuter train services. Premier Jean Charest said he was hoping the funds would come through a “green fund” carbon tax levied on oil companies.
In Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission is due to select a consultant next month for the expansion to the subway train system’s main hub at Union Station. Built in 1954 the transit station was designed to accommodate 25,000 passengers per day, but is now used by more than 75,000 people. The $90 million expansion involves building a new platform and widening passageways to the main station and Go Transit platforms. Plans are also under way to build new transit lines from Union Station to the east and west along the lake front, including a $115-million line to the East Bayfront.