A consortium of companies has been selected to build a new light rail system in Ottawa, bringing the Canadian capital’s hopes for stronger transit infrastructure closer to fruition.
The winning group, known as the Rideau Transit Group, consists of Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, EllisDon, Spanish company ACS Infrastructure and others.
The consortium will be in charge of designing, building, funding and maintaining the city’s $2.1 billion Confederation Line light rail project, which includes a 12.5-kilometre line running east-west and a 2.5-kilometre tunnel through the middle of the city. The line is slated to include 13 stations at which passengers can embark and disembark.
In a nod to sustainability, the stations will be built using wood from trees that had to be taken down due to infestation by emerald ash borer beetles.
“Today is an exciting milestone for this important project,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in a statement. “It will create jobs, help the environment by taking cars off the road and contribute to a better quality of life for the people of Ottawa.”
The new rail contract comes as yet another piece of good news for SNC-Lavalin, which has managed to secure important contracts even as it has faced allegations of corruption and bribery.
The company has also won contracts to extend Highway 407 in Ontario and build a rapid transit line in British Columbia, among other contracts.
Those successes bode well for the beleaguered company, according to Pierre Lacroix of Desjardins Capital Markets.
“Together, these contracts further support our thesis that SNC’s credibility with clients is intact,” he wrote.
The contract for Ottawa light rail project has received approval from Ottawa city staff but still requires council approval, with councillors expected to review the item later this month.
Should it get the green light, work would likely start in February, 2013 and run through late 2017, with the line expected to up and running in 2018.
The proposal will on display to the public at Ottawa’s City Hall until Dec. 19.