City promises minimal delays
The City of Ottawa will be going full steam ahead with construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, set to be completed in 2018.
The Confederation Line will feature a station at the University of Ottawa, called the uOttawa station, which will take the place of both Campus and Laurier bus stations.
The 12.5-kilometre project will stretch from Blair station in the east to Tunney’s Pasture in the west, and within the U of O’s vicinity will also feature Lees, Rideau, and Parliament stations.
While the heaviest work near the uOttawa station will be completed in 2016–17, the city does have some projects planned for this year, according to Steve Cripps, director of the rail implementation office.
“In the vicinity of uOttawa, tunneling continues at the east portal and will continue throughout the year. Some construction activity is also planned on Nicholas Street that will result in lane reductions from May to August,” Cripps said in a statement.
According to the Confederation Line website, waterproofing and lining work will occur from the west portal to Rideau station in 2015.
This year Parliament and Rideau stations will undergo excavation, support work, and utilities relocation, a process that has already begun. Rideau station construction will also cause detours.
Claudio Brun Del Re, director of physical resources at the U of O, noted that the bridge over the Rideau River—a “big piece” of the project—is nearing completion.
“Essentially what has to happen is once they start building the stations and lanes … the buses have to be removed from the Transitway and put on the roads,” which will pose a challenge in the coming years, said Brun Del Re.
“They keep telling us that full service will remain active throughout and that the contractor for the city is under significant penalty if they have interruptions,” he said.
At worst we can expect delays due to traffic, said Brun Del Re, but there shouldn’t be any interruptions of bus lines.
“It’s a huge project we’re collaborating very closely with the city … there’s a big piece of the university infrastructure that has to be moved,” said Brun Del Re.
The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa has already begun planning for the implementation of the LRT.
Vice-president of university affairs Chris Hynes said they have reached an agreement with OC Transpo that the U-Pass will cover LRT use for future U of O students.