City is still ‘cautiously optimistic’ Metro LRT Line will open this spring

WATCH ABOVE: Raw video from the city’s news conference offering an update on the Metro Line.

EDMONTON — On Monday afternoon, the City of Edmonton provided an update on the much-maligned Metro LRT Line.

“The City remains cautiously optimistic” that the Metro LRT Line will open this spring, said Wayne Mandryk, the city’s manager of the Transit Projects Branch.

Signal testing was conducted on the line over the weekend. The signalling system contractor, Thales Rail Signalling Solutions Inc., was expected to hand over the Metro Line signalling system to the city March 23.

“This morning we received much of the documentation required from Thales for handover of the Metro Line signalling system to City control,” said Dorian Wandzura, general manager for the city’s Transportation Services.

“Now that Thales has initiated the handover, our next step is to review and evaluate the documentation, which should take approximately one week.”

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The LRT line was tested Saturday and Sunday but testing was stopped early because there were “issues with some of the track north of Kingsway,” explained Mandryk.

“We have the handover information Thalus said they would give us but we haven’t accepted the system yet,” he added.

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After reviewing the safety documents, the city will either agree to takeover running the system or ask for more specific assurances from Thales.

Edmonton Transportation Services said previously it will need about six weeks to evaluate the system and complete staff training following the handover.

READ MORE: City ‘cautiously optimistic’ Metro LRT Line will open this spring 

The Metro Line was originally expected to be ready for passengers in April 2014.  In December 2013, the city announced the opening date would be pushed back to June 2014. In March 2014, the date was pushed back to the end of the year. Then in October 2014, the opening date was yet again pushed back. At that time, transportation officials said the Metro Line would be up and running by early 2015. And most recently, in December 2014, the city announced the signalling system handover was delayed, but that an early 2015 opening was still scheduled.

“Without question, these delays are unacceptable to city council,” said Mayor Don Iveson in January.

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“We will be doing everything within our power to hold accountable those responsible, in due course.”

READ MORE: Opening of Edmonton’s Metro LRT Line to NAIT delayed yet again 

Iveson says city administration has heard “loud and clear” the frustrations from council and the public on how the project has been managed.

“On face of it, it is still unacceptable how long this is taking. The year-long delay now is unacceptable, but I can’t change the fact that it has occurred. Again, the focus has to be on working together to complete the project.”