Put on the fast track in May, Ottawa continues to improve plans for its Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Expected to be fully operational in the spring of 2018, Mayor Jim Watson has announced an improved tunnel alignment that will reduce the cost of the project.
The new tunnel alignment allows the tunnel to be constructed at a new and reduced depth, while remaining under the street. No longer planned for 12 stories underground, the new depth is located only 4 stories below street level. This new plan makes the tunnel less expensive, reduces risk and will result in a better system overall. Even more, the new plan allows for a more accessible LRT and better connectivity to existing buildings.
“The plan released today proposes a new alignment and a more practical tunnel that makes a lot more sense,” said Mayor Jim Watson in a press release. “The resulting product— the first phase of our light rail transit system— will be a significant improvement and it will be less costly than the previous plan.”
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Improvements to the system were found after the new Council decided to re-evaluate previous project assumptions. Analysis over the past 8 months is what led to this improved solution. This reduction in cost leads the project to cost a total of $2.1 billion.
“I am very pleased that our work has paid off,” said Mayor Watson. “This Council will continue to put pressure on the private sector to innovate during the procurement phase and deliver the best possible project for the taxpayers of Ottawa.”
Additionally released is the City Treasurer’s report that shows the Long Term Financial Plan for public transit over the next four decades. His report shows that the City can afford to build and operate all of the public transit that is planned through to 2048.
“As stewards of this city over the next four years,” said Mayor Watson, “we have a great opportunity to get behind this improved light rail project that will have benefits for our residents today and long into the future.”