Hurontario LRT project details revealed through RFQ release

Nearly a year after Brampton’s city council severed the Hurontario Light Rail Transit (LRT) north of Steeles Avenue, Metrolinx is finally moving forward with the rapid transit project.

The provincial transit agency launched the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the $1.4 billion project connecting Brampton Gateway Terminal to Port Credit GO via Mississauga City Centre.

The RFQ will identify “teams” of architecture, planning, and engineering firms, as well as financiers and other professionals, who are qualified to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain (DBFOM) a LRT system.

The DBFOM bid system, partnered with the Alternative Financing and Procurement delivery model, transfers all risk onto the private partner instead of the public partner.

According to the RFQ, this process will see payment delivered throughout construction, as well as a significant sum paid at 85% substantial completion, unless Infrastructure Ontario chooses to change this before the contract is signed.

Bramptonist has obtained the RFQ documents which emphasize the LRT must:

  • provide seamless experience between the LRT and municipal bus systems
  • minimize construction impact
  • coordinate with other developments along the line
  • minimize disruptions to city and regional services and infrastructure
  • must implement the Metrolinx Mobility Hub guidelines
  • coordinate with the cities on stop and streetscape design
  • have design excellence

The RFQ deadline is January 26, 2017. Teams that submit a proposal to the RFQ will be subjected to a rigorous grading of their experience and portfolio. This process should weed out companies, for example, who have managed less than 30 LRT trains, or have never been in charge of storage yard operations.

After the RFQ identifies three teams by April 2017, Metrolinx will move forward to a Request for Proposals (RFP) by May 2017.

In the middle of 2018, the team that wins the RFP will move forward in constructing the system.

The winning team will be required to build 20 km of track (including signals, catenary wires, etc), 22 stations, the maintenance and storage yard, and procure light rail vehicles.

What a winning team is responsible for.
What a winning team is responsible for.

44 light rail vehicles will be required to operate on opening day, and up to 74 must be accounted for in storage yard designs.

In a blow to Bombardier’s light rail vehicle (LRV) exclusivity, the DBFOM bid opens up the vehicle procurement to competition. However, the LRV procurement will proceed through special rules.

When the line starts service, it will operate for 20 hours a day, and run every five minutes during rush hour, and 10 minutes off peak.

The storage yard will be south of the 407, on provincial lands between Hurontario and Kennedy within the boundaries of Brampton, and must be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.

What a similar maintenance facility will look like on the Eglinton LRT and where the Hurontario facility will be placed.
What a similar maintenance facility will look like on the Eglinton LRT and where the Hurontario facility will be placed.

A full rebuilding and widening of the Hurontario bridge over the 403 will be required. This will cause headaches for commuters.

MiWay and Brampton Transit will not be required or needed to operate the trains or be in charge or repairs or maintenance.

As part of the proposed plan, separated cycle tracks will be implemented on Hurontario south of Steeles Avenue. They will be part of the boulevard, adjacent to the road, and will be raised and separated from traffic with a curb.

Metrolinx, Brampton, and Mississauga have been working quietly in the background over the past year on the project. A LRT stop hierarchy has been designed, and the Brampton stop hierarchy will be presented next year according to the meeting.

Metrolinx is holding its first open house at Mississauga City Hall on Tuesday, with subsequent meetings over the next month. It’s likely that one or two open houses will happen in Brampton.

LRT construction will start in 2018 and is projected to be in service by 2022.