Ottawa Light Rail Transit

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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As a specialized set of service providers, AECOM served in many critical and crucial roles in successful delivering the Confederation Line, which is the first segment in the City of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit System. The roles included Process, Procurement, Financial, and Technical Advisors to the City of Ottawa and Infrastructure Ontario in delivering this 30-year DBFM, Alternative and Finance Procurement (AFP). Only with a successful collaboration was Commercial and Financial Close achievable.

The Confederation Line of the OLRT System is a 12.5-km east-west Light Rail Transit Project through the heart of Canada’s national capital. The project will replace, enhance and extend the existing Bus Rapid Transit service corridor, and will serve over 9 million passengers annually. The project includes 13 new stations, 2.5-km of twin tunnels (with 3 of the 13 stations located underground through Ottawa’s downtown business core), and possessed a capital construction of cost of nearly $2.1 Bn (Cdn).

A comprehensive effort by both our PPP/AFP and Engineering Teams saw the procurement achieve Commercial and Financial Close on February 12, 2013. With a whole-life value over the 30-year term nearly reaching $5 Bn (Cdn), this project represents one of the largest and most comprehensive procurements of public infrastructure by AFP in Canadian history.

Tunney’s Pasture to Blair

The $2.1-billion Ottawa Light Rail Transit project, from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair, is the crucial first step in Ottawa’s Transportation Master Plan, which calls for more than 40 km of new light rail to be built over the next 20 years.

AECOM as part of the Capital Transit Partners consortium of consulting firms began work on preliminary engineering for the 12-km line in September 2010. The joint venture is made up of four firms: Morrison Hershfield Ltd., which has an Ottawa office, Jacobs Associates Canada Corporation, STV Consulting (Canada) Inc., and AECOM.

Once in operation, the line from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station will provide reliable cross-town transit, alleviate congestion downtown and save OC Transpo up to Can$100-million in annual operating expenses. Work on the Preliminary Engineering is expected to be completed in early 2012.

North-South LRT Design-Build

As part of its Transportation Master Plan, the City of Ottawa initiated a design-build process for a north-south transitway. The 30 km proposed route utilized some existing track, which was to be twinned, but was primarily a new grade-separated, electrified, two-track route, except for a downtown portion, which was to run at-grade. The project involved twin tracks with 23 stations and 22 light rail vehicles for a new LRT system running from the University of Ottawa through the downtown core of Ottawa, Carleton University campus, around the airport and across the Rideau River to Barrhaven. A rail bridge over the Rideau was to be rebuilt and a tunnel under Dow’s Lake twinned.

AECOM was part of the Siemens-PCL-Dufferin (SPD) team. The SPD design-build pursuit team completed 30% design of the LRT route, including preliminary design of 16 bridges and 1 tunnel carrying light rail and/or highway traffic. The project included five new LRT structures over existing roads, two new LRT structures over existing railway tracks, rehabilitation of four existing structures to carry LRT and road traffic, replacement of two railway structures, twinning and conversion of the existing Dow’s Lake tunnel structure, and a new pedestrian bridge.

As the Structural Consultant, AECOM designed the bridge structures and tunnel to support the successful bid of the SPD team. The submission was accepted by the City, and included several structural innovations and cost-saving construction methods.

The project was cancelled following an election and change of municipal government.

East Light Rail Transit Extension Environmental Assessment

AECOM is conducting an environmental assessment study for the Eastern LRT extension, which will examine alternatives for implementation of the LRT corridor from Blair Road to Trim Road, a distance of approximately 12 km including eight stations. The easterly extension of the Confederation LRT Line, now under construction in the city of Ottawa, was identified as a priority project in the 2013 update of the transportation master plan for the city. This study will be completed in coordination with the proposed freeway widening in the same corridor, which is an ongoing study also being undertaken by AECOM.

Bus Rapid Transit/Light Rail Transit Program Management

AECOM completed the Ottawa rapid transit expansion study, a 20-year plan for light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT) in the city of Ottawa. Subsequently, AECOM, as part of a team, undertook program management for implementation of the initial $750 million North-South LRT corridor. The 30 km project extended from downtown Ottawa through the Carleton University campus, Government Centre at Confederation Heights, to new communities in south Ottawa (Gloucester), and across the Rideau River to Nepean (Barrhaven). The LRT system procurement followed a design, build, operate, and maintain (DBOM) framework to a single contracting entity.

AECOM prepared requests for qualification (RFQ) for vehicle suppliers and civil contractors and a comprehensive request for proposal (RFP) for the undertaking. The RFP detailed system capacity and operating requirements; alignment; station locations and facilities including park’n’ride; streetscaping; utility relocations; and road and bridge rehabilitation. Three shortlisted teams responding to the RFP were evaluated by a team of city staff, councillors, and consultants including AECOM. (2007)