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Downtown Truck Tunnel Study RFP Released

posted Apr 29, 2014, 11:09 AM by John Verbaas   [ updated May 6, 2014, 9:05 AM ]
Apr 29, 2014

The City of Ottawa and the Ontario Ministry of Transport have released the RFP for a consultant to perform a feasibility study for a downtown truck tunnel intended to remove interprovincial trucks from King Edward Ave, Rideau St, and Waller.   Bidders are to respond by May 15 and the study is expected to be completed and available to the public in early 2016.  The scope of the technical analysis that will be required is listed on pages 7-13 of this Tunnel Study RFP document.

Separately, representatives of Action Sandy Hill and the King Edward Ave Task Force met with Mayor Jim Watson's office on Apr 24th to outline their concerns/priorities for this study.  A summary of some of the items discussed includes:
  • the RFP for the tunnel study would be posted to MERX within days
  • there will be no opportunities for the public to participate/have input during  the course of the study
  • the possibility exists to ask to meet with the winning consultant if there is an interest in contributing input during the course of the study
  • the study scope will include analysis of options for allowing the tunnel to be used by cars as well
  • the study scope will include an analysis of how to manage trucks carrying dangerous goods
  • multiple tunnel scenarios would be analyzed and a preferred scenario indicated
  • when finished, the study will be released to the public and after a month will go to committee and council
  • if there is a decision to proceed further, the next step would be an environmental assessment (EA)
  • any attempts to perform a cost/benefit analysis or quanitfy the public good would happen later at this EA stage
  • it was asked what challenges there would be to moving forward with a project since the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) 2013 doesn't even have a tunnel on the list of planned infrastructure projects in the next 20yr time horizon.  The response was that if council wanted to make it happen that they could move ahead without having to first update the TMP
  • it is likely they expect it to be a toll tunnel built as a P3
  • the community expressed the opinion that tolls would likely not be able to finance 100% of the cost and the response was that the City will be 'talking this up' with the senior gov'ts to be contributors (the new federal Building Canada Fund was mentioned several times.
  • the mayor reiterated his view that an east end bridge was just not a very good (practical?) idea and that there really wasn't any money available to build it anyways
  • when asked 'what next' if the tunnel study concluded a tunnel wasn't feasible, no one seemed prepared to talk about what the contingency plans were if that was the outcome
 The meeting concluded with a discussion of what could be done in the interim to improve the safety along the current downtown truck route.  Mathieu Fleury indicated he is discussing some options with the contractor who is still on site completing the Rideau street sewer work.  Some of the options discussed included: 
    •  putting bollards on the sidewalks on the 2 sharp right hand turns to help build some barrier against trucks climbing the curb during their turns
    • ways to try to slow the trucks down a bit.  They often wheel around these corners at 20-30km/hr trying to get around before the traffic lights turn.  That is just way too fast for an 18 wheeler on a pedestrian thoroughfare
    • slowing trucks down on the King Edward 'straight aways' was also discussed.  Solving these problems seemed mostly focused on solutions involving getting the police to hand out more tickets and installing a speed board to show vehicle's speeds rather than making changes to the roadway to make it seem less like a 'freeway'
  •  it was suggested we might have to consider restrictions on the double tandem trailer trucks and that the way the corners are engineered right now, those types of trucks may not capable of making the turn without mounting the sidewalk.  It was suggested that the traffic engineering department investigate.
  • lastly it was asked if there could be any discussion on diversifying the truck route by allowing some trucks to use the Vanier Parkway.  There was no commitment to follow-up this item further.

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