May 19, 2017 10:17 am

Combining 2 phases of south LRT extension could save Edmonton $50M

Edmonton Transit System LRT train near the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

Dave Carels, Global News

Call it a two for one deal: if city councillors approve the move, combining two phases of the south Edmonton LRT expansion into one will save $50 million in capital costs, according to a new report.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton asks for public input on future of park and ride

Extension of the Capital Line from it’s current end point at Century Park is proposed in two segments: across Anthony Henday Drive to Ellerslie Road, then further south to 41 Avenue SW, which is currently the southern border of Edmonton city limits.

The approved plan for extending the south Edmonton leg of the Edmonton Transit System Capital Line LRT from Century Park to the Heritage Valley area.

City of Edmonton

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The line would travel east of 127 Street SW, through the Rutherford neighbourhood. The plan calls for it to use land south of 28 Avenue SW which is eyed as “a transit-oriented development containing mixed use residential and commercial developments, in the Heritage Valley Town Centre. Land use plans for this neighbourhood include the LRT corridor and station location.”

READ MORE: Proposed south Edmonton hospital bumps urgency for extending LRT beyond Century Park

However the report headed to council’s executive committee next week warns against combining the two phases of the $1.075 billion project.

One of the risks identified is unknown agreements to obtain provincially owned land. That includes land north of 28 Avenue SW and west of 127 Street SW, which is “provincially-owned greenfield with no land use plans or timelines for development,” the report said.

The lack of set plans for the land could create an “inability to finalize track alignment and station locations.”

Councillors will be told at Tuesday’s meeting that the administration favours doing the job in two parts because combining the design and construction of the two phases creates too many risks.

READ MORE: Mayor Don Iveson wants feds, province to cover 90% of LRT expansion capital costs

Under that two-part time line, segment one would be designed and constructed in the 2019 to 2023 time frame, while segment two would happen between 2039 and 2043 and would include future neighborhoods in Desrocher and Allard, south of 30 Avenue SW.

Segment one would include two bridges – over Whitemud Creek and Anthony Henday Drive – before arriving at the future park’n’ride lot at Ellerslie. It would also need a maintenance facility, driving the cost to $600 million.

Segment two has a price tag of $475 million.

READ MORE: $1.08B federal-provincial transit deal will help build south Edmonton park & ride

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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