May 7, 2014 1:03 pm

WATCH: Animation shows tunnel built over downtown LRT tracks to prepare for Library construction

CALGARY – We’re getting our first look at plans to encase a well-used portion of downtown LRT tracks inside a tunnel, to make way for the new central library.

The library will be constructed in Calgary’s East Village, one block east of City Hall.

It will straddle the city’s busiest LRT tracks, which cut an arc across the property and descend from street level into an underground tunnel.

On Wednesday, officials released animation depicting an ambitious plan to encase the existing track so they can start construction on the new library.

WATCH: Animation depicts how the encapsulation of the LRT tracks will unfold


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It will mark the first time in Calgary’s history that an active LRT line has been encased to enable an above-grade development project.

“To enable vertical development of the site for Calgary’s New Central Library, we need not only to encase the LRT tracks, but we need to do it safely and in a manner that doesn’t cause prolonged disruption of transit service for the tens of thousands of Calgarians who ride that LRT line every day,” says Michael Brown, CMLC President & CEO.

The encapsulation of the LRT tracks is expected to take 16 to 18 months.

The project, which will encapsulate 135 meters of LRT track, is expected to wrap up in the summer of 2015.

The projected cost of $20–25 million is contained within the project’s total budget of $245 million.

Now that a plan for the encapsulation is in place, architects Snøhetta and DIALOG can forge ahead with the New Central Library’s overall design.

“The encapsulation of the LRT line combined with the shape of the parcel site will influence the design of the library structure,” says Bill Ptacek, CEO, Calgary Public Library.

Snøhetta and DIALOG will present plans for the final design of the library in the fall of 2014.

The current Central Library, built in 1974, is located in the heart of downtown.

It’s anticipated the new library in the East Village will open sometime in 2018.

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