LRT Probe: An Abundance Of Hot Air: THE VOTER

 

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Am I the only one getting heartily sick of the phrase “… in an abundance of caution …” followed by an explanation of actions taken that anyone using the very tiniest smidgeon of caution would have undertaken?

Such as, in the most recent light-rail incident, not running trains in an area where unexplained debris consisting of concrete chunks had fallen on the tracks and bringing in someone with some expertise to discover what’s going on. What action would they have taken if they were using only a modicum of caution and how much more wonderful would it have been if they had used a surfeit of caution?

If you were operating on an “abundance of caution”, wouldn’t you be closing that tunnel and inspecting every inch of it to be certain that no other chunks of concrete were about to come unglued and hurl themselves on whatever and whoever happens to be below at that moment?

There is no way that either the infrastructure department at the city or the structural engineers they hired carried out a full inspection of the length and breadth of that tunnel between “early in the morning” when the concrete debris was first sighted and then completely resolved the problem by 4:15 the same afternoon including all the report-writing and approvals along the way.

By signing off on a report saying the tunnel was safe for operations to resume, are the structural engineers responsible if another chunk of concrete falls on the tracks in the near future? Perhaps the report only stated that those particular bits of concrete were now stable and would not fall on the tracks again.


That timeframe included OC Transpo notifying the people at the infrastructure department who then did an initial assessment; reported back to whoever makes the decision to hire external experts; that decision, with the accompanying authority to spend the money, was made; the outside firm was contacted and agreed to do the work; the structural engineers arrived on site, inspected the situation and made a determination of the cause; a third-party contractor was hired and came on site to remove the pieces of concrete; the results were inspected by the structural engineers who then reported back to city infrastructure that the site was safe; infrastructure processed that information and passed it on to OC Transpo: the transit staff made the decision to accept the reported information and rely on it to make the decision, with appropriate approvals, to return the trains to service.

And all of that happened in less than a day. And now you can feel totally safe to ride the LRT again with complete confidence. Just like you’ve always been able to.

Or, maybe not.

The Voter is a respected community activist and long-time Bulldog commenter who prefers to keep her identity private.

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3 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    Overuse of trite phrases by city officialdum, spelling intentionally incorrect, leads to less respect and more caution by the public. Rather than tell it like it is with truth and transparency we are again being treated like dumb test animals ready for the slaughter of increased taxes commensurate with the increased salaries and no responsibility attached to those in power.

  2. Ron Benn says:

    A decade or so ago, whilst driving into central Montreal, I recall seeing what appeared to be chain link screens bolted to the undersides of overpasses. I was advised by my colleague that this was in response to chunks of concrete falling from the underside of those overpasses. Permanent repairs were applied in due course.

    All of which to say is that what appears to have happened in this 40ish year old structure in Ottawa is not a new phenomenon, nor are the temporary solutions to that type of problem. So, will Ottawa take the next obvious step to ensure the safety of the users of this “tunnel”, or will they wait until the next chunk of concrete delaminates?

  3. Bruce says:

    All the overpasses on the 401 between Kingston and Oshawa were repaired/rebuilt between 1998? and 2018? for the same reasons >Concrete does not last forever especially if incorrectly mixed. Re bars corrode and moisture freezes causing failures Ottawa has best take note and start remedial work on structures over 40 years of age…. OOPS Ottawa has no money left after the LRT FIASCO

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