Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ottawa City Council has approved an action plan to respond to the 103 recommendations of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit public inquiry formed after as series of operational issues that included two separate derailments in 2021.
An action plan motion brought by the city’s light rail sub-committee recommending approval of the response carried at the council’s meeting Wednesday.
The inquiry recommendations were directed mostly at the city and its contractors, Rideau Transit Group and Rideau Transit Maintenance. The action plan lists each recommendation, who is responsible for leading the required change, the actions being taken, and the current status.
According to city staff, Ottawa has completed its response to 36 of the recommendations and the remainder are anticipated to be completed by the end of the year.
Progress will be shared on OC Transpo’s Commitment to Transparency web page and the status of each recommendation will be updated as work continues. Staff will provide two formal updates to the light rail sub-committee later this year.
While the recommendations relate to Ottawa’s O-Train Line 1, the action plan is a city-wide initiative that will impact current and future LRT projects, as well as other major infrastructure projects, city officials said.
The City of Ottawa awarded the Rideau Transit Group, a consortium of international companies, a $2.1 billion fixed-price contract to design, build and maintain Ottawa’s light rail transit system for 30 years. O-Train Line 1 opened in September 2019.
Shortly after the service began, issues arose in multiple areas of its operations that resulted in extended LRT closures, poor overall transit reliability, and reduced credibility for OC Transpo. OC Transpo worked with RTG to resolve these technical issues. However, in the summer of 2021, the issues culminated in two separate derailments that did not result in injuries but closed the LRT system down for multiple weeks.
As a result of the failures, Ottawa issued a Notice of Default to RTG on Sept. 24, 2021, which was in addition to a Notice of Default issued Mar. 10, 2020.
In November 2021 Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announced a public inquiry into Stage 1 of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit system. The public inquiry commission received more than one million documents, heard from 35 individual witnesses/witness panels and held a panel on public-private partnerships before making recommendations.