Ottawa Stage 2 LRT West Extension tunnel construction begins

Sept. 28, 2020
The west extension of the O-Train Line 1 includes more than 2 miles of tunnels that will be constructed using a cut and cover method.

Tunneling has begun on the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit (LRT) West Extension in Ottawa, Ontario. Dignitaries, including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna and Jeremy Roberts, Ontario Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, joined a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 25 to celebrate the milestone for the 15-km (9.3-mile) Stage 2 West Extension of the O-Train. 

"The start of tunneling on the next phase of Ottawa's LRT shows that, in the face of adversity, we're continuing to build up important public transit that people rely on every day. Seventy-seven percent of Ottawans will live within five kilometers of the LRT and Stage 2 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 110,000 tons and help get cars off the roads. Canada's infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds stronger communities," said Minister McKenna.

The Stage 2 LRT West Extension includes slightly more than two miles of tunnels. Construction will begin on the three-kilometer (1.86-mile) Parkway tunnel, which will run between Dominion Station and Lincoln Fields Station underneath the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Byron Linear Park.

The second tunnel of the project is the 270-meter (885.8-foot) Connaught Tunnel, which will travel from Connaught Park, underneath Connaught Avenue, to Queensview Station.

Both tunnels will be built using the cut and cover construction method where excavation begins at the surface with support walls installed as the tunnel gets deeper. East-West Connectors (EWC), the contractor building the Stage 2 east and west O-Train extensions, will build permanent tunnel infrastructure prior to backfilling to surface level. Work will be carried out in stages to minimize impacts on pedestrians, cyclists and local traffic. The city of Ottawa explains when construction is complete on the Parkway tunnel, Byron Linear Park will be enhanced to include more trees, less pavement, more public art and additional plaza space for local events.

The C$4.66-billion (US$3.48-billion) Stage 2 LRT Project is jointly funded by the government of Canada, the province of Ontario and the city of Ottawa. The project will add 44 kilometers (27.3 miles) of rail and 24 new stations to the south, east and west.

The west extension of the Stage 2 LRT project will add 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) of rail and 11 new stations to the O-Train Line 1, known as the Confederation Line. There will also be a light rail maintenance and storage facility located at Moodie Drive. The project is expected to be complete in 2025.

“Stage 2 LRT will connect our communities, major employment centers, post-secondary institutions, shopping and recreation destinations and arts and culture hotpots. It’s good news for our environment, supports healthy commuting, and gives residents more options on how they get around the city,” said Mayor Watson.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.