OTTAWA city council voted on July 12 to approve the contract for construction of the city’s planned north-south light rail line, clearing the way for work to begin later this year. The 29·7 km route will link Barrhaven with the University of Ottawa, serving 23 stations.

The DBOM concession contract was provisionally awarded earlier this year to a consortium of Siemens Canada, PCL Constructors Canada Inc, Dufferin Construction Co and local architects Griffiths Rankin Cook (RG 5.06 p246). Siemens will supply the E&M equipment, including 22 S70 LRVs that will be built in its Sacramento plant.

Part of the route will take over the rail alignment currently used by the experimental O-Train diesel light rail service, which will be discontinued to permit conversion. Construction is expected to take 40 months, with full operation starting in 2010. The line is expected to attract a weekday ridership of around 40000 passengers.

The official cost of the project is now put at C$778m, including C$90m for the maintenance depot. This could increase substantially, as it excludes some costs such as the planned extension into Barrhaven town centre. Ottawa taxpayers will supply 5% of the funding, with C$400m coming as grants from the federal and provincial governments and the remainder from the provincial fuel tax fund or property development revenues.

’This is the next step in building a light rail network that will benefit the entire city’, said Mayor Bob Chiarelli, adding that ’we can now move forward’ in planning complementary east-west routes. n