Light-rail turnover date unclear after contractors request extension

LRT

The consortium constructing the city’s light-rail line is asking for more time before it commits to a date for turning over the keys to the $2.1-billion transit system.

The Rideau Transit Group’s contract with the city says the municipality will take ownership of the O-Train Confederation Line on May 24, 2018. The contractors were supposed to confirm that so-called “revenue service availability” date by today.

However, in a memo released this afternoon, the city said Rideau Transit Group requested an extension and is working to gather information that will allow staff to provide an update to the city’s finance and economic development committee on Feb. 6.

John Manconi, the city's general manager of transportation, was quoted by CBC as saying he believes “there's no way” Rideau Transit Group will make the May 24 deadline.

The contractors are required to notify the city at least 180 days in advance of when they plan to turn over the rail line, according the light-rail project agreement.

Once the contractors commit to a date, they’re on the hook for paying $1 million in damages to the city if they miss the deadline, the document states.

After the city takes ownership of the line, it will begin conducting a series of tests and safety inspections of all operational elements before it opens to the public.