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Downtown transit tunnel plans taking shape

<p>It's just a lot of cardboard right now, but residents in Ottawa wereable to get a better look at the downtown transit tunnel Thursday.<br /></p>

It's just a lot of cardboard right now, but residents in Ottawa were able to get a better look at the downtown transit tunnel Thursday.

After a preliminary evaluation of the station locations and layout, David Hopper, study project leader, said they were looking for feedback from the public, before taking the next step in the development process.

"The public really has a good sense on the ground of what is happening at some of these stations that we don't have,‰" he said. "There are tradeoffs that have to be made at each station and we are trying to educate people what those are, so they can help us make an informed decision on how to move forward."

The evaluations ranked several options for the path and orientation for nearly 12 kilometres of track at 13 transit stops between Tunney's Pasture and Blair Station.

However, Vivi Chi, the city's manager of transportation and infrastructure planning said the ranking could still be based on consultations.

A staff recommendation would come to the transportation committee on May 6.

The estimated costs for the tunnel project include $600 million for the downtown tunnel, $277 million for the rail corridor from Tunney's Pasture to Blair Station, and $390 million for trains.

After looking at the plans, Klaus Beltzner with Transport 2000 said he was concerned that the costs were being grossly underestimated.

"If you tell me that what you see here is going to be in any way near $600 million, I'm a monkey's uncle. It's going to be $1.2 billion before we even get out of the downtown," he said.

Construction is slated to begin in 2012.

 
 
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