ION LRT Update

Donovan Maudsley - 3N Mechanical
Posted on: November 19, 2016

Taking the bus Uptown is about to get a whole lot easier, or at least as easy as it used to be. The stretch of King Street passing through Waterloo’s core was blocked off by GrandLinq in early February of this year. A nine month timetable was given for the completion of the stretch between Erb and William, and spokespeople for the project have stated that they are “on-track” (railway pun) to finish the construction. Lauren McGirr said that only very poor weather, on the level of a severe snowstorm, could push back the date back.

This announcement is music to the ears of many business owners in Uptown, whose businesses have taken hits due to the loss of foot traffic in the area. Many were worried that the closure of the stretch would extend into December and cut into the holiday shopping season.

As a resident of Uptown I was shocked to see the pavement down, just a few days after the gaping holes in the ground were filled in. Unfortunately, the reopening of King doesn’t mean that construction is completely finished. While the tracks have been laid and the roads re-paved, the overhead power lines for the light rail system still need to be installed. GrandLinq has stated that construction on this system will run into early 2017 and won’t impact traffic or the pedestrian access on King.

Other intersections which are blocked by the stage 1 ION construction are also slated to open soon. King at Wellington, and King and Frederick are both set to re-open by the end of the year. However, King from Victoria to Wellington has no estimated re-opening date. GrandLinq’s adherence to their deadlines gives me hope that the ION project will be completed on time, or at least close to it.

In other ION LRT news, there is an open house scheduled at the ION Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility on Saturday the 26th of November. The facility is located at 518 Dutton Drive and is currently under construction. It is expected to open in early 2017. Attendees will be able to view several parts of the facility, inspect parts of the system up close, and ask questions of the staff from GrandLinq, Rapid Transit and Grand River Transit. The event will take place from 10 till 2. The organizers recommend wearing comfortable shoes as the facility is rather large.