M E M O / N O T E D E S E R V I C E
- From Director, Rail Construction Program, Transportation Services Department
- Date: November 13, 2020
The following information outlines the milestones achieved on the O-Train Stage 1 Confederation Line and Stage 2 Confederation Line and Trillium Line extension projects in Q3 2020 and provides an overview of the planned work for Q4 2020.
The City of Ottawa’s Rail Construction Program continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to both the maintenance and operation of the Stage 1 Confederation Line and the delivery of the Stage 2 Project. The various maintenance, design, and construction teams working on light rail in Ottawa are adhering to all guidance provided by Ottawa Public Health and the Province of Ontario. Construction continues in all geographic areas of the project and the City is monitoring the potential impacts on the projects closely. The City is working closely with the contractors to understand if there will be any long-term impacts to these projects as a result of the current environment.
Stage 1 Confederation Line
The critical focus on the Stage 1 Confederation Line remains the implementation of Rideau Transit Group’s (RTG) rectification plan in order to improve the performance of the system. As presented at Transit Commission on October 21, 2020, in Q3 RTG undertook the following rectification works:
- Vehicle Brakes: Several software updates were completed, including the communications-based train control, train control management and guideway intrusion system. RTG will continue to investigate adjusting the brake rates and other fine tuning of vehicles to improve the performance of the light rail vehicles.
- Overhead Catenary System (OCS): RTG adjusted the OCS over the summer period. The replacement of mechanical supports will continue, as required, throughout the alignment over the coming months.
- Switch Heaters: RTG has continued to improve the performance of the system switch heater prior to the winter season. Switch heater work is ongoing and will continue in November and December 2020.
- Traction Power: Mitigations to the traction power system have been previously implemented, including enhanced cleaning of the vehicle roofs, non-conducting paint and rooftop covers, which have contributed to an improvement in traction power related issues. RTG is also in the process of replacing all vehicle traction power inductors, with 18 vehicles completed to-date.
- Vehicle Doors: RTG previously installed updated door software, which has improved the overall operation of the vehicle doors.
- Auxiliary Power System (APS): The system APS software has been upgraded across the fleet. The root cause investigation continues.
- Vehicle HVAC: HVAC deficiencies have been identified and addressed during the 100,000 kilometres vehicle routine inspection and additional hardware improvements have been made to temperature set points, HVAC filters, etc.
Additionally, RTG continued to remediate issues relating to track work performance and wheel cracks in Q3 2020. As it relates to track performance issues, over the summer months, as noted in the Q2 quarterly memo, several temporary speed restrictions were required due to extreme heat temperatures. RTG will continue to undertake ongoing track and infrastructure work along the guideway, including ballast replacement and adjustments to the rail. In terms of wheel cracks, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation continues. RTG has started a program to replace the impacted wheels on the fleet. This work is well underway with the entire fleet expected to be completed by the end of Q1 2021.
RTG provided 15 trains throughout August (except for 3 days), and since September 8, RTG has consistently met the required commitment, putting 15 trains in service on Line 1 during the morning peak periods. Staff will continue to work closely with RTG to ensure that the focus continues to be on ensuring reliable service in Q4 2020. As part of the rectification works, the City has engaged a third-party independent evaluator to begin a review of RTG’s progress on the items listed above.
In addition to the work on rectification, ongoing maintenance activities will continue throughout the maintenance period like all rail systems, including routine maintenance to track, OCS and vehicles.
Finally, there are ongoing activities related to project close-out, including minor deficiency work, final reporting to the funding partners and close-out of project documentation. Stage 1 Confederation Line project close-out activities will continue in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021.
Stage 2 Project Update
In Q3 2020, design work continued for the Stage 2 Trillium Line and Confederation Line project teams, TransitNEXT and East-West Connectors (EWC).
Trillium Line South Extension Design
In Q3 2020, City staff reviewed TransitNEXT’s construction document submissions of the guideway for the Airport Link and the final design drawings of the guideway for the south extension and the existing portion of the Trillium Line. City staff also completed the review of the pre-final and final packages for the signaling and train control system, the pre-final design packages for the communication transmission system and the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, and various pre-final interface control documents between system elements. City staff reviewed pre-final station submissions for Greenboro, Walkley, Carleton, Carling, Gladstone and Bayview stations, with the pre-final design review, at a minimum, now being completed for all 13 stations. City staff also completed the review of the construction documents submission for Airport Station and the re-submission of the Walkley Yard Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) and operational models of the yard and mainline. City staff received final design drawings for guideway landscaping along all segments of the guideway, and final construction documents and issued for construction drawings for various structures throughout the alignment, including the University Road Pedestrian Bridge and the VIA Ellwood grade separation at the Ellwood Diamond.
In Q4 2020, City staff expect to receive the construction document submissions for the south extension guideway and the existing portion of the Trillium Line guideway, as well as a submission of the final design drawings for the Dow’s Lake Tunnel. City staff are also expecting a submission of the pre-final design drawings for Carling Station, the Walkley Yard MSF and operational models of the yard and mainline. City staff expect to receive a pre-final design for the Bayview Station communication systems, final communication system designs for the Walkley Yard MSF and 8 stations, as well as a submission of final design for the signaling and train control system.
City staff expect to receive final construction documents for civil elements throughout the alignment, including rail bridges and landscaping along the guideway, and utility relocations throughout the project. City staff also expect to receive additional final design packages for elements of the new Stadler FLIRT vehicles.
Finally, City staff expect to receive issued for construction drawings for Airport Station and final design packages for the 12 remaining stations.
Confederation Line East and West Extensions Design
In Q3 2020, City staff reviewed EWC’s designs of specific Confederation Line extensions elements, including stations, trackwork, utility expansion works, Highway 417 interchanges, roadway works including Highway 174 and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, bridge structures and the Moodie Light Maintenance and Storage Facility.
Preliminary designs for stations including Dominion and Westboro stations, and final designs for Montreal and Lincoln Fields stations were also reviewed. Several stations, including Pinecrest, Baseline, Place d’Orléans, and Trim, are awaiting submissions of final design packages after initial review. Jeanne d’Arc Station is at the construction stage and will likely be the first station to advance to ‘issued for construction’ status. The City expects to review the resubmitted final design and new construction packages in Q4 2020. The Moodie Light Maintenance and Storage Facility (LMSF) is at the ‘issued for construction’ stage and construction has begun at this location.
Final infrastructure designs for the Connaught tunnel, overall track and alignment designs along the entire alignment, and designs for existing bridge structure rehabilitation on Highway 174 have also been reviewed by the City. The Hazard Log for the east extension, as well as various preliminary hazard analyses, were also reviewed by staff.
City staff also reviewed the final designs of the Montreal Station bridge, several pedestrian bridges and utility design packages. Portions of the Parkway Tunnel preparatory works have been ‘issued for construction’ along with some work for existing structures at Ross Avenue and Northwestern Avenue on the existing Transitway. The new Goldenrod Bridge is now under construction.
In Q4 2020, staff anticipate reviewing preliminary designs for the remaining Confederation Line stations, including Cleary and New Orchard and remaining existing structures that require rehabilitation work. The ongoing design review of roads, bridges and utility work throughout the east and west alignments will continue in Q4 2020.
TransitNEXT and EWC are well into construction work along their respective alignments. The Rail Construction Program will continue to work with City Councillors to advise where work is underway and provide public notifications, as required.
Trillium Line South Extension Construction
In Q3 2020, works progressed along the existing Trillium Line alignment. Gladstone Station rock removal was completed, Carling Station rock removal commenced, utility relocation work was completed at Carleton Station and preparatory works began at Mooney’s Bay Station. Works
continue at the VIA Ellwood grade separation at the Ellwood Diamond, with caisson work advancing and utility relocations underway.
The structural steel frame was completed at the New Walkley Yard MSF and preliminary building envelope installations are underway. Culvert and underground storm water retention structures were completed at the west end of the site. A new rail welding station was established at the New Walkley Yard and 485-metre sections of continuous welded rail were assembled.
Along the new guideway alignment between Greenboro and Limebank stations, culvert installation, earthworks, utility relocation, guideway fencing, and hydro-seeding works continued in Q3 2020 and will continue into Q4 2020. Foundation piling work is underway for South Keys and Bowesville stations. Preliminary utility relocations are also underway for new Hunt Club Bridge and work continues on the Airport Parkway, Uplands, Lester, Leitrim, Earl Armstrong, Bowesville and Limebank stations, as well as the Airport Station elevated rail structures.
Confederation Line East and West Extensions Construction
The construction of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (SJAM) realignment was completed in Q3 2020. Pedestrian and cyclist access through this area, via the Ottawa River Pathway, will be maintained throughout construction. Site preparation has started at Rochester Fields and south of the SJAM Parkway for the Parkway Tunnel construction, including staging, hauling route, slurry plant and laydown area. Installation of the support of excavation (retaining walls) for the tunnel is expected to start in Q4 2020.
The construction of new Goldenrod bridge is underway and expected to continue through Q4 2020. This bridge will enable the removal of the Transitway embankment road just west of Tunney’s Pasture Station.
Work along Richmond and Byron avenues in preparation for the Parkway tunnel started in Q2 2020, and was ongoing on Q3 2020, and included utility relocations and construction of a sidewalk along the south side of Byron Avenue. Utility relocation work is expected to continue into Q4 2020 in advance of the support of excavation installation. The installation of the support of excavation has started near New Orchard Station and is expected to continue into Q4 2020, moving east.
The construction of a storm sewer in proximity to Lincoln Fields Station near Carling Avenue is ongoing and is anticipated to be completed in Q4 2020. Modifications to Carling Avenue are ongoing and are required to facilitate the watermain relocation and storm sewer connection. Additional utility work will be ongoing in Q4 2020 through the east and west alignments to relocate utilities to avoid conflicts with future works. Construction of the temporary Lincoln Fields bus loop is underway and expected to continue into Q4 2020.
Further in the west, phase 1 of Iris street culvert replacement and detour is complete, with phase 2 of the Iris culvert works expected to start in Q4 2020. Various utility works will continue in this area in Q4 2020. The construction of the Baseline Station bus operator building (BOB) and bus loop began in Q3 2020 and are expected to continue through Q4 2020.
Utility work and excavation in preparation for the tunnel near Connaught and Queensview is underway and expected to continue through Q4 2020.
Modification to the Highway 417 Pinecrest interchange ramps is underway to accommodate the construction of a new Pinecrest bridge, which is expected to start in Q4 2020. A new bridge at Holly Acres Road is underway. This work requires some utility relocation and intersection modification to accommodate construction of a centre pier for a new bridge, which is expected to start in Q4 2020. Construction of detoured lanes at Moodie Drive is expected to start in Q4 2020 to accommodate construction of the new Moodie Drive bridge.
Work is underway at the location of the future LMSF, including utility work and construction of a structure to accommodate crossing Stillwater Creek. Work in this area is expected to continue throughout Q4 2020.
In the east, work began in Q2 2020 and is ongoing on the reconfiguration of Ottawa Regional (OR) 174 . Construction of new bridges over Montreal Road is expected to be completed and open to traffic in Q4 2020. Staging of the OR 174 lanes near Blair Road was done to accommodate construction of a new bridge to bring the train into the median of the highway. Drainage works, including storm sewer and culvert extensions, are ongoing on the north and south side of OR 174 near Place d’Orléans Station, in preparation for the realigned OR 174 lanes.
Modification to the OR 174 and ramps will allow future guideway work to begin in the centre median area of OR 174, away from active traffic lanes. All traffic will be maintained in both directions throughout the duration of the project, however, minor off-peak delays to eastbound traffic may occur at times. Finally, construction of drainage work and new parking lots at the Trim Park and Ride started in Q2 2020 and is ongoing. The construction of a new Trim Road intersection is expected to start in Q4 2020.
Stage 2 Vehicles
As part of the Stage 2 Project, TransitNEXT will be supplying seven Stadler FLIRT vehicles. These vehicles are being designed and manufactured in Switzerland. The design period is nearing its end, which will allow manufacturing to begin. Stadler has completed the first vehicle car shells, which have begun evaluation under the First Article Inspection process.
Rideau Transit Group (RTG) is providing 38 additional Alstom Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles to ensure that the expanded Stage 2 Confederation Line operates as a single, uniform service. The Rail Construction Program is monitoring the production of this expanded fleet with special attention being placed on ensuring that all hardware and software improvements and upgrades resulting from the in-service experience of the Stage 1 fleet are applied to the new vehicles. Despite supply chain impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, RTG completed and the City accepted four additional vehicles from the Stage 2 order.
Stage 1 and Stage 2 Capital Budgets
The Stage 1 Confederation Line Contingency Fund is $100M. To date, $89.6M from the total fund has been spent. Remaining funds are earmarked for potential future changes, primarily related to property requirements and transit priorities. When funds are reserved for contract variations, the upper cost limit for the variation is used and upon completion of the work, unspent monies are returned to the Contingency Fund. For this reason, the funds reserved figure is an estimate that may be higher than the actual amount spent. There is unplanned revenue to address the ($583,352) Unspent/Uncommitted balance within the Contingency.
In keeping with Council’s approved 2017 Stage 2 Report (ACS2017- TSD-OTP-0001) and 2019 Stage 2 Report (ACS2019-TSD-OTP-0001), approximately $1.119B has been spent as of September 30, 2020 and relates to the RTG MOU for Belfast Yard and vehicle assembly mobilization ($336.6M), Confederation Line extension mobilization and construction period payments ($470M) and Trillium Line extension construction period payments and financial close for the Revenue Vehicle Supply Contract ($94.8M). The remaining $217.5M was spent for planning, procurement, project delivery and City retained scope.
Stage 1 Maintenance Payments
As discussed previously, a single payment was made for Maintenance Services to RTG for August and September 2019, less deductions, as required by the Project Agreement. Further, as provided in the memo to Council on August 19, 2020, a payment has been made for the invoice periods of May to July 2020, reflecting the system performance of April to June 2020, less deductions, as required by the Project Agreement.
The City continues to work through an invoice review to ensure that we meet all of our contractual obligations under the Project Agreement. As outlined in the August 19, 2020 Memo to Council, based on ongoing reviews of the invoice period for October 2019 to April 2020 and August to September 2020, reflecting the system performance of September 2019 to March 2020 and July to August 2020, the City expects to make maintenance payments to RTG less the appropriate performance deductions for July and August 2020.
Communications and Stakeholder Relations
A milestone event was held on September 25, 2020 to celebrate the start of Stage 2 cut and cover tunnel construction. Mayor Jim Watson was joined by The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, representing the Government of Canada, and Jeremy Roberts, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, from the Government of Ontario, to break ground on the Parkway Tunnel. Should residents have any further questions about tunnel construction, they can visit ottawa.ca/stage2 or watch the Stage 2 LRT Tunnel Overview video.
The Rail Construction Program continues to encourage residents to subscribe to the Stage 2 LRT newsletter to receive monthly progress updates, construction photos and video and area specific notifications regarding upcoming works. Residents can subscribe to the electronic newsletters by visiting ottawa.ca/stage2 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.