LRT: Pimisi Station design unveiled as Rideau Transit Group pumps out tunnel flooded after June sinkhole

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STAFF WRITER
– Special to The Ottawa Construction News

As Rideau Transit Group (RTG) contractors pumped out water from a massive Rideau St. sinkhole in late June, the city unveiled the design of the new O-Train Confederation Line Pimisi Station in Lebreton Flats, a key portion of the city’s new Light Rail Transit system – and a centrepiece of the proposed Lebreton Flats redevelopment.

The sinkhole disrupted businesses, swallowed a locksmith’s truck (now encased in concrete) and the resulting flooding at least partially submerged one of RTG’s three tunnel boring road-headers. Steve Cripps, head of the city’s light rail implementation office, said in late June that crews haven’t reached it yet to assess whether it was damaged.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that there was only about 50 m. of tunnel left to excavate at the time of the road collapse. RTG, responsible for the $2.1 billion Confederation Line project, is overseeing the reconstruction process, but there isn’t yet information about how much the sinkhole and its repairs will cost. Work is continuing elsewhere on the LRT project on schedule.

Meanwhile, officials boarded a bus from City Hall on June 23 to visit the site of the new Pimisi Station, the first Confederation Line stop west of downtown. Pimisi means “eel” in the Algonquin language, which carries a sacred significance as it is a source of spirituality, medicine and nutrition.

The new station will be located beneath and west of the new Booth Street Bridge. It will have three levels, with links to buses, and it will be a significant transfer point for individuals traveling to and from Gatineau.

The station will be decorated with Algonquin art, with reclaimed ash wood as roof soffits and benches.

The city says the station will be designed to allow further expansion of the platform to the west. However, the design doesn’t specifically connect to the proposed Lebreton Flats development, where the winning bidder, rendezvous LeBreton, wants to cover the LRT line through the flats to avoid dividing the site.

The LRT is expected to be open in 2018, but construction won’t start on Lebreton Flats until after the transit line opens.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said at the station design unveiling that he is pleased to see the Lebreton redevelopment will be accessible through both the Pimisi and nearby Bayview stations, but the city won’t be doing additional work. Further changes “will have to be done after the station is built, and the cost will have to be borne by the developer, not the taxpayers,” he said.

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