Construction delays for Ottawa light rail extension add 17 months to part of project

Ottawa's light rail transit has been hit with construction delays that have pushed back its western line extension until late 2026.

The city of Ottawa’s director of rail operations, Michael Morgan, gave a construction update on stage two of the LRT to members of the city council's finance and economic development committee.

"We're seeing a lot of pressure on the availability of craft and there's been some challenges, there's a shortage of cement in North America," said Morgan.

The longest delay is to the train’s west line, which has been pushed back by 17 months until the end of 2026.

The south line, which is set to be finished first in September 2023, has already been delayed by a year.

Coun. Riley Brockington, who was re-elected to city council last month, asked Morgan if he believed the original timeline was realistic to begin with.

“We knew there was going to be bridges built and other work in this regard, it’s important going forward that we have a realistic timetable at the beginning,” said Brockington.

Morgan told the committee that supply-chain issues are among the main reasons for the delay — but he insisted that he and others working on the LRT project have adapted to overcome challenges.

A public inquiry is investigating what caused derailments and breakdowns in the first stage of Ottawa’s light rail project, and is expected to release a final report at the end of the month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Cindy Tran, The Canadian Press