Vision for $2.13-billion light-rail line gets...
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Dec 12, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

Vision for $2.13-billion light-rail line gets clearer

Ottawa East News

Officials dubbed the city’s forthcoming light-rail system the “Confederation Line” during an announcement of which companies will build the $2.13-billion transit system.

The Rideau Transit Group, led by ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., SNC-Lavaln and EllisDon, was selected to construct the line, which is expected to be completed on time by 2018 – and on budget.

While the initial budget was pegged at $2.1 billion, that amount didn’t account for inflation that would occur between 2009 and the start of construction in 2013. After a couple of changes – including making sections of the downtown tunnel more shallow, bringing the proposed Campus station above ground and shifting Rideau station east of the canal – the final price tag is now $2.13 billion.

That price includes $1.8 billion for construction and the remainder for buying land needed to build the line. Rideau Transit Group agreed to a fixed-price contract of $2.13 billion.

Members of council were to review the deal as a committee of the whole on Dec. 12 and council’s final vote on the contract will take place Dec. 19.

If the deal is approved, Ottawa will be getting 30 Alstrom Citadis trains, 1,500 of which are already used in 40 cities around the world. The trains can travel up to 100 kilometres per hour and will be able to make the trip from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair station – the ends of the 12.5-km line – in 24 minutes. That means trains could be running as frequently as one every minute and 45 seconds.

The trains are designed with onboard bicycle storage and are “proven in heavy snow and cold,” according to Rideau Transit Group’s materials.

The project is Ottawa’s largest-ever infrastructure project, Watson said, but the impact on traffic likely won’t be as bad as people might anticipate. That’s because a lot of the downtown construction will happen underground.

Constructing the first phase of light rail is expected to generate jobs totalling more than 3,200 person-years of employment for trades in the Ottawa area. Another 700 person-years of employment for highly skilled technical staff and 375 person years of employment for engineers will also be created. This job creation is projected trickle down to generate 20,000 person-years of work, both directly related to the construction and employment needed to support that work.

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