Labour Council concerned about flooding in LRT tunnel

The Ottawa and District Labour Council is raising new concerns about the LRT tunnel: flooding.

The ODLC says it was given a photo (shown above) which shows water flooding a section of the tunnel. The tracks are submerged.

ODLC President Sean McKenny told CFRA’s The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll Tuesday he estimates there’s roughly a foot of water pictured in the photo.

“Sort of around the shin if you were to walk through it,” he said. “The concern for us is you’ve got guys trudging through that water, they can’t see underneath. What’s underneath the water? What’s at the bottom? Are they going to trip? All kinds of safety concerns.”

McKenny said he did speak to Transportation General Manager John Manconi about the photo.

“His comment to me, at the time, was that the sump pumps were not working,” McKenny said. “But that’s not good enough. They should have been working and if they weren’t working they should have been changed right away.”

City of Ottawa Director of O-Train construction, Steve Cripps, said in a statement the photo came after a record-breaking rainfall in July.

“The photo in question was taken after a record rainfall on July 25, 2018 at the west portal when the location was running on temporary sump pumps. With the location still under construction, temporary pumps could not handle the excessive amount of water from the record-breaking rainfall, resulting in localized flooding," Cripps said.

The rainfall recorded at the Ottawa Airport July 25 was 61.4 mm, shattering the previous record of 41.1 mm set in 1969.

He added that once construction is complete and the line is running, the Rideau Transit Group will address any future leaks on an individual basis.

"The LRT tunnel has a waterproof layer around it because the tunnel is below the water table. If water leaks still occur, RTG addresses them on an individual, case-by-case basis using an injection mechanism that is very effective as the injected material solidifies and becomes impenetrable.”

The LRT has no specific launch date at this time. It was initially expected to be available to riders in May of 2018, but was later pushed back to November. In a more recent update, the City says the Confederation line now won't be ready for passengers until sometime in the first three months of 2019.