Province Must Probe Light-Rail Construction Safety


Once again Rideau Transit Group and the City of Ottawa have fortunately avoided loss of life in a major accident in and around the Confederation Line light-rail project.

Late on Thursday afternoon a section of shotcrete (a sprayed material that reinforces the walls of the tunnel when it is under construction) fell near Waller and Laurier trapping three workers. One has a hand injury. All three have been rescued.

Previous to this a sinkhole appeared on Waller during tunnel drilling which collapsed part of the road. As well, a giant sinkhole occurred at Sussex and Rideau that could have claimed many lives but, luckily, did not. The cause and responsibility for the Sussex and Rideau sinkhole has not been determined.

In baseball, it’s three strikes and out and now we have three serious incidents. This project is exposing many Ottawans to unnecessary danger and also raises questions of how safe this project will be when it is completed.

It is time the province gets involved because the principals behind this project have not been able to protect the public from unnecessary danger.

Accordingly, Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose government is responible for municipalities, should appoint a provincial investigation to look into the safety of this project. That might mean stopping construction until the project can be declared safe.

Because the City of Ottawa has so much riding on the completion of this project on-time and on-budget, an investigation should come from the province which is at an arms-length from this construction.

It is time for the province to step in before a tragedy occurs on light-rail project. Three major accidents are too much.



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7 thoughts on “Province Must Probe Light-Rail Construction Safety

  1. Indeed, an investigation is needed immediately, especially before we go ahead with any other tunnelling projects like: Phase 2 of LRT expansion (parts of which will be tunnelled); the truck tunnel; and the storm-water storage tunnel system.

    1. Sheridan:

      This is too much. We haven’t had a cause or responsibility meted out from the Sussex-Rideau collapse and we have another.

      Could they be rushing?

      But imagine if a private developer had three accidents occur in or around his project. That construction would be stopped in a second.

      How many times does this have to happen before lives, perhaps many, are lost.

      This isn’t a political game but real people’s lives at stake.



      1. I could say something about safe versus the illusion of safety; going overhead versus tunnelling in sand; but I’ll bite my tongue.

        Just a good thing that nobody lost an arm or leg or was killed.

        Worker’s Safety Board will investigate.

  2. Yes, we do appear to be playing with lives. Real people, with real families.
    Well past time for a provincial investigation.

    1. Anne Marie:

      The city was certainly out there fast to call the incident “minor”.

      Don’t know what to make of that.



  3. The City needs to recognize that it’s just lucky chance that no lives have been lost or major injuries occurred in the “industrial accidents” so far. We know that an OC Transpo bus had passed over the site of the Rideau sinkhole moments before the collapse. It’s time to take a step back and be sure that the project is safe.

    I would be interested in knowing if other similar projects have had “industrial accidents” at this rate. For example, does Toronto’s subway construction experience these incidents?

    How much fur is left on the City’s rabbit foot?


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