No penalties to Ottawa LRT contractor for missing Canada Day target

Downtown streets were supposed to be clear before July 1 weekend celebrations
Rideau Construction
Construction signs highlight the restrictions on Rideau Street that were supposed to be cleared by Canada Day, but were delayed due to the sinkhole. (Photo by Ryan Tumilty / Metro)

The city’s LRT contractors will face no penalty for missing the deadline to clear up downtown for Canada Day.

When thousands of Canadians descended on Ottawa for Canada Day earlier this month, the hoarding constructions signs and road closures downtown were all supposed to be gone.

The aboveground work on the $2.1-billion Confederation Line LRT was supposed to be wrapped up in time for Canada Day. As originally planned, visitors would be walking along Queen and Rideau streets downtown unencumbered by all the work taking place underneath their feet.

While the contract with Rideau Transit Group (RTG) has many enforceable deadlines, Canada Day wasn’t one of them, according to the city.

“The project agreement did not provide for any penalties with regards to Canada Day 2017 readiness,” said Claudio Colaiacovo, acting director of O-Train Construction in a statement Monday.

The deal with RTG requires the company deliver the LRT project on a set schedule; failure to meet those deadlines, which include construction milestones, means the company will lose funding.

While that doesn’t come in direct penalties, the company isn’t paid if it misses a milestone. And since they’re financing the project, those costs will hit the company’s bottom line.

“The failure to meet these requirements will result in the corresponding payments from the city being delayed, which will in turn result in RTG incurring increased financing costs,” Colaiacovo said.

Construction on the tunnel through downtown for the new LRT was delayed when a giant sinkhole opened up on Rideau Street last year. The company did put up new hoardings around construction sites in advance of Canada Day and tried to minimize the disruption.

RTG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Steve Cripps, the city's director of O-Train construction, said in an email Tuesday the work downtown would wrap up over the course of the next year.

“Various elements will be completed at different times. Some elements will be completed throughout and up to the end of 2017, and final touches, such as landscaping, will be completed by spring 2018.”

This story originally appeared in Metro News.