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Rapibus corridor extension to East

Background

Inaugurated in 2013, the Rapibus corridor changed the face of Gatineau and the day-to-day lives of public transit users. At this point, taking the car, unlike taking the bus, is becoming increasingly time-consuming, which year after year enhances the benefits of the Rapibus corridor. By 2031, the population in the eastern part of Gatineau is expected to grow by 30%. This increase will further congest the roads and drive up the demand for public transportation. The benefits of the Rapibus, the first bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Quebec, will become even more evident and appreciated over time.

This important project consists of a 12 km two-way exclusive bus corridor with 10 stations, two park and rides, and reserved lanes in the downtowns. The current Rapibus links boulevard Labrosse and boulevard Alexandre-Taché. Extending the Rapibus corridor to Lorrain boulevard was part of the original plan, as shown below. In parallel with the construction of the Labrosse-Lorrain section, in June 2022, an extension to Airport Boulevard is being planned.

M. Patrick Leclerc, directeur général de la STO

"STO is setting everything in place to plan and develop a public transit system that will meet transportation needs for the next 30 to 50 years. Extending the Rapibus is part of that global vision of planning dedicated public transit axes from east to west and north to south. Operating in combination with the OC Transpo system and the future tram, this high service level corridor will form the backbone for an integrated public transit system serving a metropolitan population of more than 1.3 million people."

-    Patrick Leclerc, CEO, STO.

 

Lorrain station: first infrastructure of the Rapibus' eastward extension

The Lorrain station, located at 115 boulevard Lorrain, was the first of the infrastructures to see the light of day as part of the Rapibus' eastward extension.

This station features:

  • 219 parking spaces, of which six are reserved for people with reduced mobility, and four for expectant mothers;
  • 4 bus platforms;
  • waiting areas, one of which is closed, heated and protected from inclement weather;
  • 2 non-covered supports that can accommodate up to 14 bicycles;
  • 2 variable message signs (VMS) indicating in real time the next routes;
  • 1 lit sidewalk that is accessible to people with reduced mobility, and that links rue Guigues and its surroundings to the station; and
  • 1 bioretention basin to treat the water volume and quality: plants will be used to absorb the phosphorus in the water and filter it before it is released into Gatineau's storm sewers.

Presentation

In December 2019, the ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec granted the STO a certificat d'autorisation environnemental, giving it the green light to proceed with the design and development of plans and specifications, as well as the calls for tenders for the extension of the Rapibus corridor to boulevard Lorrain. 

Given that the GDR consortium is the one that designed the plans and specifications for the Rapibus corridor, it was natural for this firm to design the 2.8 km extension. The section running alongside the existing train track will link the Labrosse and Lorrain Stations, passing through the future Lac-Beauchamp Station.

The extension will include, among other things:

  • a 2.8 km two-way reserved bus lane;
  • a 2.8 km multifunctionnal bicycle path;
  • a station providing year-round bus access to parc du Lac-Beauchamp and its many outdoor and recreational activities; and
  • two crossings on the multifunctionnal path and one adjacent to Lac-Beauchamp station.

The following image towards boulevard Lorrain gives an idea of what the Rapibus corridor extension will look like. 

The same four key objectives will apply to the extension of the Rapibus corridor:

  • respond to the increased demand and attract new customers;
  • provide a service unfettered by traffic congestion;
  • link the commercial, cultural, sport and economic hubs; and
  • support Gatineau's land use vision.

The extension of the Rapibus corridor will provide residents located in the sectors east of parc du Lac-Beauchamp better access to the major hubs like the Cégep de l'Outaouais, CLSC, Maison de la culture, Centre sportif, Les Promenades Gatineau and the Centre Slush Puppie. With the addition of a few local routes from the east to the corridor and the start of a number of Rapibus routes at Lorrain, the extension will offer residents in the east more options for taking the bus. When time comes, a public consultation for the system review will be held.

Environmental measures

The Rapibus corridor will pass through a green space and wetlands in parc du Lac-Beauchamp. The construction zone, which includes the existing train tracks, will represent approximately 3% of its total surface area.


The clearing activities necessary for the realization of the project were carried out during the winter of 2020-2021, according to the requirements of the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec and the City of Gatineau. They were carried out during the winter season in order to respect the bird nesting period (April to August).

From the very outset of the project, the STO has committed to comply with all environmental requirements of the laws and regulations in force, and to introduce a series of environmental measures to reduce as much as possible the impact of the construction work.

To ensure that it does everything properly, the STO is working in collaboration with Ville de Gatineau and Quebec's ministère des Transports, Quebec's ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques and ministère des Forêts du Québec, de la Faune et des Parcs, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The STO is also relying on JFSA, a firm that specializes in protecting the environment and in water resources.

Read about the environmental measures that have been and will be applied as part of this public transit project.

Timelines

Spring to autumn2020

  • Preparation of the terrain – Wildlife Barrier.

Fall 2020

Winter 2020-2021

  • Tree clearing required for the project; and
  • Selection of a general construction contractor.

2021 and 2022

  • Construction work starting in summer 2021, and environmental measures.
  • The planning phase of the Rapibus extension to Airport Boulevard began, including the completion of the needs and solutions study.

2023

  • Public consultation in connection with changes to the service offer in the Labrosse and Lorrain Boulevard sectors.
  • Opening of the new section.

News

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