LRT Tunnel: What Is Going On Down There?

So far what we know about the incident in the light-rail tunnel where a worker has been “severely injured” is from a leaked document to The Bulldog.

This is very disconcerting.

The project has seen three sinkholes along its route and massive flooding.

The City of Ottawa has withheld the Rideau Street sinkhole report from the public. Fortunately  its content was leaked to The Bulldog.

In addition, a $180-million contract was let to Alstom for light-rail maintenance but a city release has never been issued on that huge deal.

We also know that Rideau Transit Group, the builder of the Confederation Line, is not bidding on Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT project. That is highly unusual because the firm that gets the first contract has a leg up on other bidders because it knows the technology of Phase 1 and can easily apply this to Phase 2. Other firms do not. Usually the first contract builder getting subsequent contracts for further phases is a slam dunk. Not this time.

We also know that the Watson-O’Brien planned costs about $6 billion and doesn’t go to Kanata and Barrhaven and does not include the cost of the Vimy Memorial Bridge. The cancelled Bob Chiarelli plan cost $2.8 billion, went to Kanata, Barrhaven and Orleans plus it included the Vimy span. What’s with the extra $3.2 billion?

Even more frightening is what we don’t know. The Watson administration is quick to send out releases on Happy Town News and shameless promotion of the mayor but much, much less on bad real news.

That raises the spectre of what the public has not been told. All the problems above occur, many of which have not been formally released publicly, and yet the plan remains “on-time and on-budget”. Come on.

Instead overages are hidden in extra projects such as a fare system and a bus loop at Tunney’s Pasture. Did someone overlook these basic things? Were they not in the original light-rail contract? If not, why not?

The fundamental rule of scandal is that what you see publicly is but the tip of the iceberg. What don’t we know about this $6-billion plan? Why was city staff so adamant that much of the western line of Phase 2 travel down the Macdonald Parkway where no one lives when even a grade-school youngster could determine that a better place would be down Carling Avenue where people live.

Yet staff would not hear of Carling Avenue for a route. What reason was there for that? What’s going on there that we don’t know?

This LRT project has all the ingredients of a multi-billion-dollar scandal of a proportion that Ottawa has never seen before.

What is going on down there?

Again The Bulldog calls on the provincial government to hold a public inquiry on the obvious problems (and unseen woes) of this badly botched LRT project.

The city is covering up on a number of levels. The province must shed the light of day on this badly mishandled plan.



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7 thoughts on “LRT Tunnel: What Is Going On Down There?

  1. Is there a formula that journalists could use to determine the real number of incidents? If you hear about 10, can we extrapolate that there are 20 or 50 or hundreds?
    I would bet pretty heavily that the accidents, sinkholes, floods, fires, etc, that we know about are just the beginning of what’s really happening beneath our city. Are WCIB claims made public? It would be interesting to see how many have been made that are LRT-related. Of course, some would be hidden because the injured worker is employed by a subcontractor, not RTG or the City.


  2. From city Hall this just in:
    See no evil, hear no Evil and say no evil or better say nothing.
    The monkeys are running the zoo.


  3. A great deal can be gleaned from listening to adages that have been around for decades such as:

    Where there is smoke there is usually fire.

    Unspoken words have no benefit unless the truth is felt to be dangerous.

    It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

    On your LRT –

    I smell smoke. There are too many unspoken words and the singing isn’t over.


  4. Learning a worker was injured last Saturday (the 11th) made me wonder how long this has been a six- or seven-day-a-week work project? How many hours of work per week for individual workers so they are protected from working too many hours? At what point does overtime pay kick-in or are other workers working weekends? How many work shifts per day and how many hours per shift? Basic questions and no answers, even when another worker injured yesterday.


      1. Ken,
        Wish that were the case. I knew they had worked long hours for Lansdowne and Sisters of Visitation. Was surprised to hear that a worker was hurt on Saturday (the 11th) as had no idea weekend work was involved. If announced, I missed it.


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