The City of Ottawa recently awarded the STV/AECOM/Morrison Hershfield/McMillen Jacobs Associates joint venture a contract for the preliminary engineering and program management of the second stage of the city's transformative O-Train light rail transit extension program.
This $3 billion initiative includes the extension of three existing light rail routes – east and west along the Confederation Line, and south along the Trillium Line – totaling 30 kilometers (18.64 miles) of new rail and 19 new stations. The program will seamlessly connect riders to employment nodes such as Tunney's Pasture, Orléans Town Centre and Confederation Heights; academic institutions including University of Ottawa, Carleton University and Algonquin College; shopping centers such as Lincoln Fields, Rideau Centre, and Place d'Orléans; and cultural and recreational destinations like the National Arts Centre, the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, and Westboro Beach.
The goal of Stage 2, which was approved unanimously by the Ottawa City Council in 2013, is to bring 70 percent of all city residents within five kilometers (3.1 miles) of rail transportation, leading to shorter commutes, cleaner air and a stronger economy.
"We are thankful for the opportunity to continue our support of the City of Ottawa as it demonstrates its ongoing commitment to meet the needs of its growing population through the addition of new transportation options," said Keith Mackenzie, P.E., S.E., STV vice president and program manager for the extensions. "The city's O-Train extension program stands to have a profound effect on the region by creating new jobs and reducing vehicular congestion on the city's roadway network."
The joint venture team was previously awarded the preliminary engineering and program management services for the initial light rail transit project known as the Confederation Line, or Stage 1. This stage included new underground tunnels as well as conversion of a fully built-out bus rapid transit service into a light rail transit line, running from Tunney's Pasture through downtown Ottawa to Blair Station.
The Trillium extension program will double the existing line's ridership capacity with the addition of new passing sidings and functional enhancements at stations and maintenance facilities. Since it was introduced in 2001, ridership on the O-Train has nearly doubled to 12,000 trips per-day.
As Canada's capital, Ottawa is home to the Parliament, the Senate and the Supreme Court and is also one of the world's top five regions for research and development. As a result, employment is expected to increase in the city, placing considerable demands on the existing transportation system.