3 p.m., Dec. 5)
off the hook for possible light rail cost overruns
taxpayers don't have to worry about light rail becoming
a burden on their pocketbooks thanks to a provision that
places the onus to pay for any possible cost overruns
on the consortium that has been awarded the contract to
design, build, finance and maintain the light rail project.
Rideau Transit Group, which is a consortium of 14 different
companies led by ACS Infrastructure Canada and includes
SNC Lavalin, Ellis Don Construction and Alstom Citadis
Transportation among others, beat out two other bidders
in winning the $2.1 billion contract to build the Ottawa
Light Rail Project. They've also been awarded the $220
million contract to widen the Queensway between Nicholas
Street and the Split which will be needed when construction
begins to convert the Transitway to light rail.
making the announcement on Tuesday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson
assured Ottawa residents that the Confederation Line,
as it has been officially named, will be completed "on
time, on budget and with a fixed price".
current project has been modified from what was originally
proposed during the last term of council. It is slightly
shorter and much shallower. The original plan called for
a tunnel 10 stories below ground level. Under the revised
project the tunnel will only be five stories below ground
level. The changes were made to keep the cost within the
original estimated figure of $2.1 billion.
provincial and federal governments are contributing $600
million each to the project, leaving the City of Ottawa
having to raise $900 million mostly through long-term
on the tunnel is expected to begin in July and will take
five years to complete. The city has received assuances
from the Rideau Transit Group that the tunnel portion
of the light rail line will be operational in time for
the 150th anniversary celebration of Confederation in
2017. The remaining sections of the line, from dowtown
west to Tunney's Pasture and east to Blair Road, will
be completed by 2018.
Blair Station will be built where the Blair Transit Station
now sits. Visitors to the City of Ottawa website will
no doubt be impressed to find out that the station's design
will for "a seamless transfer" from buses to
light rail. Whether or not this will be the case in practical
terms, especially during rush hour, won't be known until
the system is operational. It is also not clear what the
city plans to do in terms of parking near the Blair Station.
rendition of the exterior of the future Blair
will be the eastern hub of the Confederation
Light Rail Line. File photo
rendition of the interior of the future Blair
rendition of the future Blair Station at night.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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