Hamilton council seeks LRT clarification, speeds up long-awaited Waterdown bypass

Hamilton City Council, in a 14-2 vote, is asking the province to clarify what happens if the cost of building Hamilton’s light rail transit (LRT) system exceeds the $1 billion the province has allocated to build it.

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Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark says the clarification is needed from Ontario’s Minister of Transport in light of last fall’s election of a new provincial government.

Metrolinx, the province’s transportation agency, currently has the construction responsibilities out to tender and is expected to award the contract later this year.

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The previous provincial government’s view was that cost escalation beyond $1 billion would result in the project’s scope being reduced, but Flamborough Glanbrook Conservative MPP Donna Skelly has taken a different perspective.

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Skelly, during a recent interview on CHML, was adamant that any construction costs beyond $1 billion would be the responsibility of the city.

Hamilton’s east-west LRT line will run 14 kilometres from Eastgate Square to McMaster University, primarily along Main Street and Queenston Road.

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In regards to another high-profile transportation project, Flamborough Coun. Judi Partridge has won a battle on behalf of Waterdown residents.

City Council, in a vote of 13-3, has voted to single-source the design work on the east-west bypass around Dundas Street. The contract will be negotiated with Dillon Consulting, due to the firm’s familiarity with the long-awaited project.

The bypass is slated for completion, from Centre Road to Avonsyde Boulevard, in 2022.

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Partridge says Waterdown residents have “suffered” long enough as they wait for relief from high traffic volumes.

Ward 8 Coun. John Paul Danko voted against single-sourcing of the contract.

Danko acknowledges that a competitive bid would have slowed the project work by several months, but he also believes it would have saved money for taxpayers.

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