Proposed Barrhaven extension for Ottawa LRT priced at $3B

A proposed extension to Ottawa’s light-rail transit system that would see LRT expanded to the suburb of Barrhaven would cost an estimated $3 billion, according to a new report.

The 10-kilometre extension would be built out as part of Stage 3 of Ottawa’s LRT and would pick up where Stage 2 ends, with new rail starting at Baseline Station.

The proposed route for the Barrhaven light-rail transit extension, connecting Baseline Station to Barrhaven Town Centre.
The proposed route for the Barrhaven light-rail transit extension, connecting Baseline Station to Barrhaven Town Centre. City of Ottawa

The plans, as prepared by city staff, would see 2.4 km of twinned rail connect Baseline Station to Nepean Sportsplex via an elevated structure.

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The remaining 7.6 km to Barrhaven Town Centre would see the existing southwest transitway converted to light rail, with 1.7 km of open-cut trench dug out at the southern tip.

Seven stops would be added to the overall LRT network, including three new transit stations at Tallwood, Knoxdale and the sportsplex.

Three new bridges would be installed over the VIA Rail line at Woodroffe Avenue, the southwest transitway and Fallowfield Road, while below-grade rail would be dug out to pass under Berrigan Drive, Marketplace Avenue and Chapman Mills Drive.

A new train storage and maintenance facility would also be built on Greenbank Road.

Read more: Ottawa-Gatineau residents prefer Sparks Street tunnel for tram, but cost still unknown

Staff suggest the project could be built over two phases.

The first phase, costing roughly $2 billion, would connect Baseline and Fallowfield stations and include the three bridges. The second stage, including the new maintenance facility, would cost $1 billion and connect Fallowfield to Barrhaven Town Centre.

The three rail-grade separations could also be built out separately at a cost of $400 million, according to the report.

The elevated guideway west of Woodroffe Avenue would require the demolition of 120 rental units south of Knoxdale Avenue, according to the report.

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Keith Egli, councillor for Knoxdale-Merivale, said in the report that he has heard concerns from residents and community housing advocates about the need to tear down these units for the sake of the proposed LRT. While he expressed support for further LRT extensions, he asked staff to mitigate the impact on housing.

Ottawa’s transportation committee will be asked to approve the functional design for the proposed Barrhaven LRT on Nov. 2.

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