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City unveils major breakthrough in LRT construction

A major milestone has been met in the city’s LRT expansion plan.

Two tunnels connecting Churchill station to the new MacEwan station were unveiled Friday morning, marking the completion of tunneling for the north LRT line at Churchill station.

Crews have been working around the clock since last January, to build the 3.3 kilometre stretch, which connects a number of key areas of the city.

“Places such as Grant MacEwan University, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and of course NAIT,” said Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Rona Ambrose.

The $755 million project was jointly funded by all three levels of government. The federal government contributed $100 million, the province provided $497 million through the green trip program, and the city funded the remainder of the project.

Mayor Stephen Mandel says transit is a great investment that will help increase the appeal of our city.

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“We need to build that in our city to make us a modern, creative, dynamic city with an environmental focus,” Mandel said adding, “It’s about developing the kind of transportation network that the younger generation of today expects cities to have and Edmonton needs to have that.”

“This is what building a world class city and a world class province is all about,” added Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, “It’s a great piece of infrastructure. You just look at it and you see how enormous it is and how much work it took to put it together. I just learned that they were progressing at three metres per 24 hours, so it tells you the scope or the magnitude of the infrastructure project.”

Lukaszuk says this project wasn’t just about investing in public transportation.

“This also, indirectly, is an investment in post secondary education, as for the first time in the history of this city, four major post secondary institutions will be connected by LRT.”

Crews will be working through the winter to lay down the tracks for the line. This particular leg of the transit line is scheduled to be complete by April 2014. From there, crews will begin expansion work to link LRT all the way to northwest Edmonton.

With files from Vinesh Pratap.

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