Ontario government calls public inquiry into problems affecting Ottawa’s LRT system

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OTTAWA — The Ontario government says it will be launching a public inquiry into problems affecting Ottawa’s light rail transit system.

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney says in a release that the problems plaguing Stage 1 of the project are unacceptable and disappointing.

She says the provincial government, as a funding partner, and Ottawa transit riders need certainty that the city will be able to successfully deliver the remaining phases of the project.

The $2-billion line that had been more than a decade in the making opened two years ago.

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The federal Transportation Safety Board has said there have been five derailments in the last two years — three of those derailments happened off the main tracks.

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Other problems have included a sinkhole that swallowed a major downtown thoroughfare during construction, door jams delaying the line for hours, wheels developing flat spots, salt spray from roads gumming up electrical works and stations that smelled of raw sewage.

“In the coming weeks, we will establish the scope of the inquiry and its terms of reference, with the intention of receiving a report on what has transpired and recommendations to prevent this from happening again,” said Mulroney’s statement released Wednesday.

Transit riders, advocates and local politicians have been demanding answers on the problems with the project.

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Last month, Ottawa Coun. Catherine McKenney said their biggest fear is that there could be an accident where there is injury or loss of life.

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Ottawa’s Confederation Line is a 12.5-kilometre straight, twinned track with 13 stops that runs partially underground.

It serves as the spine of Ottawa’s entire transit system, having replaced the rapid-transit routes in and out of the city’s core.

Construction is already underway on Phase 2, which would extend the line to the east and west.

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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