East end commuters
waiting to get on board the light rail train will have to
wait another two months after the consortium responsible
for building the system recently informed the City that
it wouldn't be able to reach it's March 31 target.
The reason for
the delay, according to the Rideau Transit Group (RTG),
is the need for further testing. If all goes well, the system
will be operational by the end of June.
The delay will
cost RTG a further $1 million in penalties. When work began
in 2015, the initial target date for completion was May
24, 2018. Various issues, including a massive sink hole
near the Rideau Centre, made meeting the target date impossible.
A second deadline was set for November 2, but that too was
missed so a third deadline was set.
The latest delay
was deemed necessary in order to conduct additional testing
to limit the potential for problems when it becomes operational.
The LRT will need to accommodate thousands of communters
almost overnight. The plan is to eliminate the existing
OC Transpo Express routes and to shuttle riders from Orléans
to the Blair LRT station instead where they will board the
LRT trains for the trip downtown.
When the Confederation
Line is in service, 30 of 34 train cars will be on the tracks
at peak service, in 15 sets of double cars. (The last four
vehicles are reserved for backup.) The City has said it
won’t takeover the LRT system until all the vehicles have
been approved for use and have passed a 12-day, “flawless”
end-to-end trial run, simulating how the train will operate
once it begins carrying riders.
The system will
be put to its first real test during the first few rush
hours. Many commuters are skeptical the transition from
bus service to light rail will be smooth and problem free,
despite the City's assurances to the contrary, but all the
delays don't exactly instill a great dealy of public confidence.
In other news,
city council endorsed the next phase of LRT, along with
the $4.66 billion price tag, during a special meeting on
March 6. Despite a long list of concerns, the vote to proceed
with Phase 2 passed by a vote of 19-3. The three dissenting
votes were cast by councillors Rick Chiarelli, Diane Deans
and Shawn Menard.
While a number
of details still have to be worked out betweent he City
and the successful bidders, work on Phase 2 will begin later
this year. Part of the plan calls for the LRT line to be
extended from Blair Station to Trim Road down the centre
median of Hwy. 174. The work will include the creation of
five stations at Montreal Road, Jeanne d'Arc Blvd., Orléans
Blvd., Place d'Orléans and Trim Road. Completion
is scheduled in 2024.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our
local business partners.)