City councillors learned this week they'll have to wait until the end of the year before they're given the full picture about when Ottawa's multi-billion-dollar light rail expansion will be ready to roll.
CBC News reported in March that SNC-Lavalin, operating under a subsidiary called TransitNEXT, had told the city it was nearly four months behind on its work on the north-south Trillium Line, part of the second stage of Ottawa's light rail network.
At the time, some councillors pressed for a more precise schedule, but were told that would likely come in May.
Transportation manager John Manconi is now telling them to expect a "wholesome and an accurate update" by the end of 2021. Manconi will have retired by then.
Manconi said the delay will give the city time to assess what the contractors — SNC-Lavalin on the north-south line and Kiewit-Vinci on the east-west expansion — accomplish during the construction season, their busiest time.
"Where do they land with construction? It's a big season, great weather, and taking full advantage of the summer and into the fall," Manconi told reporters after a brief transit commission meeting Wednesday.
Trillium Line handover 15 months away
On Tuesday, city councillors were shown how construction of the light rail line and stations are progressing in each direction.
Michael Morgan, the city's director in charge of the $4.66-billion Stage 2 rail project, showed images of stations under construction along the Trillium Line, but no tracks in place yet.
The Trillium Line is due to be finished in less than 15 months, by mid-August 2022. The eastern Confederation Line extension to Trim Road is scheduled for completion in 2024, and the line west to Moodie Drive is supposed to open in 2025.
Coun. Diane Deans, who voted against awarding the Trillium Line contract to SNC-Lavalin, and who has pushed for more information about the project, said it's reasonable to wait until the fall for an accurate completion date.
"If they're going to recover some lost time, it will be through this peak construction period," Deans said.
She wondered though whether Carleton University students will be taking LRT to class in September 2022 as originally promised.
"There's a lot of domino effect if there's a delay, and the more lead time we have in knowing that the better," she said.