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Waterloo region gets approval for 36-kilometre rapid transit system

The burgeoning Regional Municipality of Waterloo in southwest Ontario has been given the green light to build its first rapid transit project by the provincial Ministry of Environment.


The burgeoning Regional Municipality of Waterloo in southwest Ontario has been given the green light to build its first rapid transit project by the provincial Ministry of Environment.

The project consists of 36 kilometres of both light-rail and rapid bus lines, linking the three major cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.  Construction is expected to start in 2014 on the first phase.

A 19-kilometre light-rail line will run from the Conestoga mall in Waterloo to the Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. Also a 17-kilometre bus rapid transit route will run from Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge.

To see the latest route concept, click here.

Located approximately 100 kilometres west of Toronto, the Region of Waterloo is expected to increase its population to over 700,000 by 2041, making for a predicted daily ridership of 31,000 by 2041 — a number comparable to successful LRT systems running in other cities today.

Cansult were the engineers who beginning in 2004 provided the initial technical studies for the rapid transit system. Hatch Mott MacDonald, together with AECOM and MMM Group, completed the environmental assessment process, and Parsons Brinckerhoff will represent the Region from this point on.

The route, stations and technology was approved last year by the regional council. It will be using a design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) procurement model and will be issuing a request for qualifications from potential DBFOM teams this fall.

The province of Ontario has provided $300 million for the project, which is the largest single investment in transit infrastructure in the history of the region.