Inquiries to hear testimony about Ottawa’s off-the-rail transit system


On a miserable morning in October 2019, hundreds of civil servants and downtown workers marched sidewalks sidewalks on the outskirts of central Ottawa, marching unexpectedly.

A laptop bag was hung on the shoulder and the crowd followed the route of the newly opened Confederation LRT line where the train suddenly stopped. The public later discovered that a rider at a station at the University of Ottawa tried to keep the door open all at once to build a train. It somehow caused an entire system shutdown.

It wasn’t the first and most dramatic accident to hit Ottawa’s $ 2 billion system, but it’s the first time I’ve fully felt how troubled commuters are with commuting. was.

The state-imposed hearing will begin on Monday and will hear testimony from city officials and the consortium that built the line to learn how the capital’s largest transportation project went off track.

The line has been plagued by problems in the first few weeks of its opening, from service delays, crowded platforms, and mysterious sewage stations to derailments and spark showers splattering from train cars.

At one point, RTM, the consortium responsible for maintaining the line, reported that the wheels were no longer round, causing a shortage of trains.

One of the earliest misfortunes of this project emerged a few years ago in 2016 when a major downtown street opened and swallowed an empty van above a tunnel into an underpass.

The project, which was to be delivered to the city on May 24, 2018, was delivered 456 days later than planned.

The city council initially voted against the idea of ​​having judges investigate a long series of breakdowns and derailments, but in late 2021 the Ontario government made those decisions.

Judge William Hooligan of the Ontario Court of Appeals has been appointed to the authority to investigate what went wrong.

Hourigan and his team have already listened enthusiastically to a two-day public meeting in which residents were invited to express their dissatisfaction with the system.

Formal hearings, scheduled daily for the next three weeks, will include testimony from 41 witnesses, including city officials, elected officials, and representatives of companies building and maintaining the line.

Hourigan and his adviser will first hear from John Jensen, the city’s former railroad implementation manager who was responsible for procuring the project.

In an interview with the Commission’s lawyers under the oath, Jensen said the procurement was ultimately led by the state’s royal agency, Infrastructure Ontario, and the agency’s template was the basis for the project contract with the contractor. I did.

Jensen was also asked how cities and contractors settled on the train model, which is believed to be the cause of many technical problems on the line.

Later in the afternoon, Riccardo Cosentino, Vice President of Investment at SNC-Lavalin, one of the parent companies of the construction consortium, will contact you.

By August 31, the Commission should submit a final report on its findings to the Minister of Transportation of Ontario, and make recommendations to prevent future projects from suffering from similarly bumpy vehicles.

Laura Ottoman

Canadian press

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