Independent certifier says LRT isn't 'substantially complete': City of Ottawa memo
An independent certifier hired by the City of Ottawa and the builder of the $2.1-billion Confederation Line has rejected the Rideau Transit Group’s (RTG) claim that the LRT system is “substantially complete,” according to a memo issued by the city on Wednesday.
A status of “substantial completion” means that construction of the 12.5-kilometre, 13-stop train is finished and the system is effectively ready to go.
“Broadly, the (independent certifier) agrees with the City’s opinion that RTG has not achieved Substantial Completion and agrees that additional work is required,” said the memo from Michael Morgan, director of the city’s rail construction program.
“Despite (the independent certifier’s) assessment, it is important to note that RTG has been continuing work on all areas in an effort to close out issues throughout the Confederation Line system,” the memo continued.
WATCH (March 4, 2019): Ottawa city councillors, staff invited to experience LRT simulator
Mayor Jim Watson and city councillors learned on Friday that RTG had submitted the paperwork for “substantial completion” and the city had reviewed the application.
OC Transpo boss John Manconi said the city felt the system didn’t quite meet the “technical definition of substantial completion” because “outstanding work of varying degrees remains” to be done on the east-west line — which is nearly a year behind schedule.
Manconi emphasized, in particular, a “wide range” of outstanding, minor issues with the train cars. The LRT’s fleet consists of 34 vehicles, all of which are operational and being tested on the tracks, Manconi said on Friday.
According to Morgan’s memo on Wednesday, the independent certifier has “recommended a joint meeting with RTG and the city to discuss the issues noted in the …. assessment.” (The memo did not elaborate on the nature of those issues.)
“The City will be following this guidance and will be organizing a session with RTG to review the outstanding work,” Morgan wrote.
The consortium also has to provide a “corrective action plan” to the independent certifier and the city within five business days, according to the memo.
The independent certifier in question was chosen together by the city and RTG, who are sharing the cost 50-50, according to Manconi.
Elements of the Confederation LRT line that the City of Ottawa says must be ticked off before the builder delivers the train.City of Ottawa
‘We’re aligned on the path forward’: Manconi
Speaking to reporters earlier on Wednesday after a transit commission meeting at city hall, Manconi declined to comment on the independent certifier’s review before telling council about it. But he shared that city officials met with RTG representatives on Tuesday and suggested the two parties see eye-to-eye on next steps.
“We’re aligned on the path forward,” Manconi told reporters, saying he wouldn’t comment on what RTG said during that meeting.
WATCH (May 2, 2018): Sneak peek of the Ottawa LRT
Prolonged bus detours associated with the Confederation Line’s delay, along with road closures, traffic delays and the impending construction season, are creating “some tough commutes for everyone right now,” Manconi conceded on Wednesday morning.
“That’s why I continue to push RTG: ‘You need to launch the train, get these detours off,'” he said. “And that’ll ease congestion, not just for buses but also for other commuters.”
Project’s ‘long-stop’ date falls next week
News of the independent certifier’s decision comes a week and a half before the project’s “long-stop” date, which — according to the project agreement — falls “365 days after the required revenue service availability date” (or the original handover date).
The train was first scheduled to be delivered to the City of Ottawa on May 24, 2018, a deadline that was pushed to Nov. 2 and delayed once again to March 31, 2019. The consortium missed the March target date as well.
If RTG doesn’t achieve revenue service availability by the “long-stop” date, the consortium will be in default of the project agreement and the city will have the right to terminate it, according to the document.
There was no word of an LRT launch date during Friday’s update. Manconi said that RTG continues to tell the city it will deliver the train by the end of June.
Once it has possession of the train, the city says it will need up to four weeks to prepare the system for launch day.
All 13 stations along the LRT line have received occupancy permits and are in the stages of final cleanup, Manconi reported on Friday.