Comment 83489

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 13:03:00

Elsewhere in Ontario LRT....

Rideau Transit Group wins ‘Confederation Line’ LRT contract

As expected, City of Ottawa staff have selected the Rideau Transit Group consortium as their choice to build the city’s $2.1-billion light-rail transit system.

The announcement was made with great fanfare Wednesday morning at City Hall, with Premier Dalton McGuinty, Mayor Jim Watson and other dignitaries in attendance.

Much of the 12.5-kilometre east-west ‘Confederation Line’ that includes a 2.5-kilometre downtown tunnel will be completed by 2017, Watson said, and the entire route is expected to be in service by May of the following year.

It was announced Wednesday that the Alstom Citadis trains are to be used, with each single 49-metre low-floor car capable of carrying 300 passengers. They’re billed as being good in heavy snow and cold weather, and capable of reaching speeds of up to 100 km/h. Trains are to be assembled in Ottawa, and 30 vehicles are to be in service on opening day.

Watson also unveiled photographs of the designs for the system’s 13 stations, which are to feature simple designs and incorporate wood from trees killed off by the emerald ash borer, according to the city. They’re also to have “extensive” features for cyclists, the city says.

“This is a tremendous achievement and great reassurance for council, our residents, and most of all our taxpayers,” Watson said.

The Rideau Transit Group bid is led by a builder, ACS Infrastructure, rather than a train-maker. And it includes a big Canadian component, with Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin and assorted subsidiaries playing roles as financiers, engineers, operators and maintenance overseers.

SNC-Lavalin has overseen new rail lines in Vancouver that transit authorities there are very happy with, but it’s also been implicated in a kickback scheme in Libya — Swiss authorities are investigating payments made in connection with a prison-construction contract there — and a bridge-building scheme in Bangladesh so dirty that the World Bank withdrew financing.

The consortium also includes Ottawa firm bbb architects, best known here for designing the new downtown convention centre, and construction firm EllisDon, whose highest-profile current work is at Lansdowne Park.

Following Wednesday’s announcement, the city is opening a two-week “showcase” of the winning bid that will be on display at City Hall till Dec. 19, and have a travelling component that sets up at community centres and malls across town for a day or two at a time. The full schedule is at

Councillors are to debate the staff recommendation twice — first on Dec. 12 and again on the day they take a final vote on signing the contract on Dec. 19.

The project would be expected to start in February with related work to widen Highway 417 from the Nicholas Street on-ramp to the split with Highway 174 and construction of a maintenance and storage facility at Belfast Road where trains are to be assembled. Work on the tunnel is expected to start in July.

Rideau Transit Group has agreed to a fixed-price contract of $2.1-billion, meaning that any increased costs related to construction won’t be the city’s responsibility, according to the city.

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