Aug 2011: Provincial Environmental Assessment Process submitted and Notice to Proceed
received from Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
Sep 2011: RFQ stage closes
Oct 2011: RFP issued to 4 selected construction consortiums
Dec 2011: Report submitted to Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)
Dec 2012: RFP closes
Update 3: Jul 2011 - New Tunnel Alignment along Queen St. & Costing Update
The following paragraphs are extracted from this Implementation Update to Council - Jul 14, 2011.
Update 2: Spring 2011 - Project Acceleration
Also during 2010-2011 the LRT Project Office has proposed changes to how the project would be awarded to reduce the delays between phases of the project and to shorten the construction phase by 1 year. As a result, the newly projected date for first ridership is spring 2018. Details of this LRT project acceleration plan can be view in this report to the City's Finance Committee.
Update 1: Fall 2010 - Tunnel Shortening at Ottawa U.
During the course of 2010-2011 preliminary design and geo-technical studies have been ongoing. The result of this work has been a proposed change to shorten the downtown tunnel to emerge on the east just south of Laurier Ave before the proposed Campus station. As a result, this station would now be located above ground as opposed to below ground as in the original plan.
Ongoing status updates on this project are provided by the City of Ottawa on the Light Rail Implementation site.
- 493m$ - tunnel
- 284m$ - stations (includes 3 underground stations)
- 116m$ - maintenance facility
- 813m$ - tracks, LRT systems, LRT vehicles, tunnel ventilation
Total costs: 1.72B$ (when escalated to year of actual construction = 2.12B$)
LRT system yearly operational cost in 2018 = 35m$
- 17m$ - train maintenance
- 5m $ - train operators
- 7m $ - electricity cost
- 6m $ - other (control centre, etc)
- 10-15 minutes faster trips through downtown at rush hour vs buses
- 50 million trips per year using the downtown stations
- ridership on the Tunneys-Blair section of OC Transpo
- 2011: 39 million (on bus transitway)- 2021: 51 million (on LRT line)
- 2031: 76 million (on LRT line)
- 40% of all transit trips in the city will use the LRT for all or part of the journey
- 9% expected increase in transit ridership in the year the LRT goes into operation
- 10m litres / yr in reduced fuel usage (by reduction in number of bus trips)
- 94,000 tons of reduced Co2 emissions annually (in year 2031)
- 4,600 tons of reduced air contaminants annually (in year 2031)
- 5,600 tons of reduced salt consumption annually
Measuring the Benefits:
- 20,000 person years of employment during construction
- 1.1B$ savings (over 30 years) vs providing equivalent service via buses
- 1.5B$ in net benefit (over 30 years) via reduced commuting times
- .4B$ in net benefit (over 30 years) from fewer road accidents
Phase 1 of the DOTT plan consists of the following components:
a) a 3.2 km long east-west tunnel roughly following the current transitway route between Bronson Ave and U of O campus station (cost approx 777m$). The tunnel route includes a broad northward curve to accommodate a stop nearby the intersection of Rideau and Sussex streets. The depth of the 3 downtown stations in this tunnel are projected to be approx 10 stories below ground.
b) A 12.5km rail line extending in the west to Tunney’s Pasture approximately following the current transitway route and in the east extending to Blair road also following the current transitway route and associated LRT vehicles. (cost approx 813m$)
c) A rail storage and maintenance facility in the east end (cost approx 116m$)
This would be considered as phase 1 of a multi-phase plan. Phase 1 would cost approx 2.3B$ and is projected to start operation in 2019. The cost of the latter phases would add another 4B$ extending the western terminus to Algonquin College as well as adding a north-south electric rail line roughly following the route of the current diesel O-Train (but extending it further southward to Riverside South). These phases are targeted to be in operation by 2031.
Further details of this project can be found on the Ottawa Light Rail Implementation site.
This plan received Environmental Assessment approval from the Province of Ontario in Summer 2010. The City now is preparing to tender for a firm to come up with a detailed design. This would stretch into 2011 and a further tender for construction start would not happen until later 2011 or 2012.
The plan was expected to be funded by 1/3 contributions (700m$ each) from the Ottawa, Ontario, and Canadian governments. Ontario and Federal governments ended up committing 600m$ each leaving the City of Ottawa to fund the balance (900m$). A more detailed and final cost estimate for the project will not be available until later in the detailed design phase (2011).
For downtown residents there are some pros and some cons to this plan. By burying the proposed LRT 10 stories deep into a tunnel, and reducing the number of stops in the downtown compared to today’s transitway, downtown residents will find the system less to convenient access.
The construction of this deep tunnel, with underground stations 'mined' out from the inside not only loads a lot of the cost of the LRT project upfront (735m$), it also adds considerable cost overrun risk, and its complexity means that the first ridership on the system will not occur until 2019. The CCC expressed these concerns in this DOTT letter to council. The CCC at the time called for a more thorough investigation into the feasibility of a surface LRT based solution in the downtown.
Dec 2013 Update:
During the update of the 2013 Transportation Master Plan, an LRT Phase 2 was envisioned which extended the Ph1 project further to the east and west and sooner than what had been planned when the LRT Phase 1 was committed.
The total cost of this Phase 2 plan (including BRT projects) was forecasted at 4B$ by 2031. The following 2013 TMP Affordability Document and 2013 TMP Affordability Presentation were provided which explain how this Phase 2 plan would be funded.
Dec 2011 View:
The City has concluded that the current transit plan to 2029 which includes extension of the LRT in the west to Algonquin College together with an additional line to the south can be financed without any increases in property taxes. The total cost of this plan to 2029 (including incremental expansions of the bus network) is estimated at 6.6B$. (This number assumes inflation throughout the period of 2.5%).
This 'funding without tax increases' rests on several major assumptions:
If there are significant changes to any of the above major assumptions, or if the overall cost of the project changes significantly from the current 6.6B$ estimate then the implications on property taxes will be considerable different than the no impact scenario currently described.
The most detailed information made publically available regarding this long term cost and financing of the complete multi-phase transit plan is in this Oct 2009 LRT Cost and Affordability memo which was subsequently updated in 2011 as part of the City's Long Range Financial Plan IV - Transit.
OC Transpo has produced a document which outlines the ways in which the OC Transpo network is planned to change in order to integrate with the east-west LRT system which is planned for operation in 2019. The core idea is that the system will evolve to a trunk (the LRT) and feeder (bus routes) system complemented with a grid of cross-town bus routes.
The document estimates the growth in ridership by 2020 and compares the cost of meeting that ridership demand with the current BRT only system vs the LRT system integrated into this proposed trunk and feeder network. The conclusion is that the new LRT network could carry this 2020 passenger load with a 20% cost savings which is a savings of approximately 100m$/year. The document then goes on to describe how the network would be managed during the time while the transitway is shut down during construction.
This link will take you to this OC Transpo Network Evolution document .... or click on this link to download it (2.1MB)
OC Transpo has also provided an initial proposal of how the downtown bus route network will be adapted once the east-west LRT and downtown tunnel is in operation in 2019. It was originally written to address concerns expressed by the Rideau Centre that their pedestrian traffic would be negatively impacted by the proposed downtown tunnel routing. Of particular note in this document is that the estimate for the number of buses operating on Albert and Slater streets after the LRT is in operation would be in the order of 1000 per day (vs 3000 per day prior to LRT). One of the main reasons for the proposed downtown tunnel was to remove buses from Albert and Slater streets. Is the continuation of 1000 buses per day on these streets acceptable given the $730m investment in a deep tunnel whose purpose was to get buses out of the downtown? Read the details of this proposed post LRT 2019 downtown bus network here.
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