The extension of the Trillium Line is now postponed to spring 2023

The north-south rail extension of the Trillium line will not be completed until May 2023 at the earliest, nine months later than the original August 2022 deadline set out in the contract, councilors heard on Friday.

The latest delay means Carleton University students will go an entire additional school year without a transit train, and anyone else traveling between downtown and Riverside South, or Ottawa International Airport, will stay in buses much longer than previously expected.

The city’s director of rail construction told the finance and economic development committee what contractor Transit NEXT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, told him about the reasons for the delay.

“I think they would point out the delays from COVID, the impacts from social distancing and market pressures, some impacts on utilities,” Michael Morgan said.

In a slideshow he shared with advisers, most stations were partially built and tracks had yet to be laid in areas such as Riverside South.

“We still need to see progress on key milestones,” Morgan said.

City of Ottawa staff shared this image of the construction of the future Bowesville station in the south during a presentation to the committee in December 2021. The Trillium line was scheduled to be completed in August 2022, but its builder expects that delivery will be delayed until May 2023. (City of Ottawa)

Earlier this year, some advisers asked if the $1.6 billion Trillium Line project was behind schedule – after CBC News reported it – but had to wait more than nine months for an updated timetable. day.

The southbound Trillium Line is the first of three sections of rail to be opened as part of Ottawa’s major second stage of light rail transit.

The Confederation Line could also be delayed

A different group, Kiewit Eurovia Vinci, is working on extending the Confederation power line further east and west.

Work in the west – adding 11 stations and moving 15 miles of track to Moodie Drive and Baseline Station – appears to be 10 months behind schedule “on paper”, Morgan told advisers.

That section is due to be completed by May 2025, but Morgan said tunneling in the Westboro area hit deep clay and there were productivity issues.

He said the city will review the schedule in early 2022 with the east-west contractor to determine if the time can be made up.

The Confederation Line westward extension is due to open last, but builders Kiewit Eurovia Vinci found deep clay and had problems with the water table while digging the open pit tunnel near the boardwalk Sir John A. Macdonald. (City of Ottawa)

The extension of the Confederation Line east to Trim Road in Orleans appears to be going well. Morgan expressed “measured optimism” that five stations and 12 kilometers of track will be completed by the November 2024 completion date.

Trillium line subject to peer review

The construction of the Trillium Line is at the center of the county’s concerns. Carol Anne Meehan, however, because her southern terminus will serve her Riverside South constituents.

After seeing the many problems that plagued the Confederation Line in Stage 1 of the LRT, including two derailments, Meehan asked for assurances that his problems would not be repeated on the Trillium Line. SNC-Lavalin is a key player in both.

On Friday, the finance committee agreed to his idea of ​​asking city staff to engage in a ‘peer review’ to examine any design, construction or training issues that could be resolved, even before this northern line -south is completed.

The city will engage an experienced railroad construction company or railroad agency to review the Trillium Line project, which is expected to take three to four months “and will be completed with sufficient time to influence the final project results,” according to the memo. Morgan.

SNC-Lavalin’s technical bid during the call for tenders for the Trillium Line contract twice failed to achieve the required 70% mark. However, a clause in the RFP gave the city’s executive committee the discretion to waive SNC-Lavalin’s bid in the procurement process anyway. Neither the council nor the public knew that this clause existed.

The City will pay $6.3 million for a garage lot

The committee also decided to spend an additional $6.36 million to purchase land, which it leases from CP Rail, to accommodate the future expansion of the new Trillium Line maintenance and storage facility on neighboring property.

The city’s lease is coming to an end, and buying the 5.9 hectares would allow the city to reuse buildings it already owns on the site, Morgan said. It would also accommodate a larger Trillium Line fleet, should the line ever offer trains more frequently than the currently scheduled 12-minute intervals.

The Trillium Line has a new maintenance facility, seen in the distance, being built near Walkley Road. The steel frame will house an automatic car wash so the trains won’t have to be washed manually. The committee approved the purchase of adjacent land. (City of Ottawa)

Some councilors questioned why the Trillium Line contractor was not responsible for the land.

“Is this a Christmas present for SNC-Lavalin or are they going to reimburse us?” asked the adviser. Diane Deans.

Morgan told him the city is initiating the purchase so SNC-Lavalin would have access.

The peer review and purchase of the land will require full council approval in January.

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