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Phase 2B Consultant Selected - Sustainable Solutions Role

posted Jun 10, 2011, 3:23 PM by John Verbaas   [ updated Jun 10, 2011, 3:51 PM ]
In April 2011 a decision was made at the NCC board meeting on the consultant to be used for Phase 2B of the Inter-provincial Crossings Project. The meeting was not without controversy as only 2 of the 4 qualified engineering firms had submitted a bid. The lowest cost bid was by the firm Roche-NCE which had been the same firm which conducted Phase 1 of the study. This bid was approximately 50% of the cost of the competing bid. As there had been considerable public discontent with Roche-NCE in Phase 1 and partially as a result of this, the board decided to reject the staff's recommendation to select this firm despite it's lower cost bid.

However, considerable confusion ensued after this decision as it was unclear to the board what subsequent steps should then be taken. After a recess for lunch, the board reconvened and according to a point of procedure unanimously voted to reconsider the morning decision. After re-consideration a vote was re-taken and this time the staff recommendation to proceed using Roche-NCE was accepted.

The first meeting of the public consultation group (PCG) for the Phase 2B of the study is planned for June 7, 2011.

Sustainable Solutions will be participating as one of the community groups in the Phase 2B process and our focus will continue to be directed at ensuring the study team proposes a project that leads to an acceptable solution to the problems of up to 3000 heavy trucks travelling on Waller, Rideau and King Edward every day.

Our point of view on what is an acceptable solution means that most of those trucks should be removed from Ottawa's downtown without simply shifting the problem to other residential communities. In Phase 1 of the process the NCC recommended a bridge at Aviation Parkway/Kettle Island and that after that bridge was in place that King Edward should also remain open to trucks. Their computer simulations based on the truck travel patterns researched at that time estimated that 60% of the inter-provincial truck movements would continue to prefer the downtown route even with a Kettle Island bridge in place. In effect what such a bridge would have accomplished is adding a truck problem in a new community without even solving the problem downtown all the while adding significant excess new capacity for cars.  Oddly enough, the City of Ottawa which is a participant on the study team did not appear to reject these recommendations of this study.

During Phase 2B we will work to ensure that much more clarity is brought on the topic of inter-provincial truck origins/destinations, on the impacts of adding a truck route through eastern communities, and on the political and business implications/feasibilty of forcing all trucks to detour to any of the various proposed bridge corridors further east. This information is absolutely essential to making an informed decision on a new inter-provincial crossing and it continues to be our view that these topics have not been dealt with adequately to date.