The City of Ottawa is on track with its ambitious plans to develop a light rail transit (LRT) system within the capital region. In development since spring 2013, the $2.13 billion transportation initiative, dubbed the O-Train Confederation Line, will see Ottawa’s Bus Rapid Transit system replaced with a new, world-class LRT network that will shuttle residents and tourists across the city via 13 stations.
“The Confederation Line will better link communities along its route, leading to enhanced development opportunities and greater ease of movement between neighbourhoods,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Our already walkable destination will become even more walkable, and local businesses will benefit from better visibility and street access. On top of that, the LRT will reduce congestion and, as a result, the city’s carbon footprint as commuters move from the current bus-only system to LRT.”
Certainly, Ottawa’s Confederation Line is breaking new ground in a number of ways. In addition to featuring a 2.5km underground tunnel – the largest of its kind in the region – it is the largest infrastructure undertaking in the city’s history and the first to be delivered under a P3 scheme.
Notes Crockatt: “The Confederation Line is the biggest development in Ottawa since the building of the Rideau Canal. Its importance for both locals and visitors to the capital region cannot be overstated.”
Beyond removing buses from downtown roads, the new system will provide more convenient access to existing transportation services (e.g. VIA Rail and, in the future, the Ottawa International Airport). It will also make it easier for commuters to travel in and around Ottawa’s downtown core and its distinct neighbourhoods.
Perhaps more alluring for Ottawa guests, however, is the promise of greater connectivity between Ottawa’s venues to the many surrounding attractions and amenities. Once open, the LRT will better link hotel guests in the western part of the downtown core to the Shaw Centre and provide convenient transportation to unique off-site destinations and activities, including exclusive restaurants, Ottawa tours, Rideau Canal and Ottawa River boat cruises, Parliament Hill, Canadian War Museum, and more.
This summer, residents and visitors also had the chance to visit a future underground LRT station with the immersive “Kontinuum” multimedia experience produced as part of Canada’s 150th celebrations.
“From a tourism perspective, the new Confederation Line will allow visitors to more easily access Ottawa’s attractions such as the Canadian War Museum, or trendy neighbourhoods such as Wellington West,” explains Crockatt, noting, “Convention-goers who meet at Shaw Centre will have even more hotels from which to choose—some of which offer convenient access without ever setting foot outside.”
Development of the Confederation Line is being carried out by the Rideau Transit Group consortium, which includes the world-class team of ACS Infrastructure Canada, Dragados Canada, EllisDon, and SNC-Lavalin. Much of the construction for the Confederation Line has already been completed, and plans are to open the new LRT system to passengers in 2018.
With the clock ticking down before the Confederation Line opens, Crockatt adds, “The city and our local tourism community are excited to embark on this next adventure.”
Stay current with Ottawa’s O-Train Confederation Line at http://www.ligneconfederationline.ca and discover more reasons to set your meeting or event in Canada’s capital by visiting www.ottawatourism.ca.