Edmontonians have come to expect plenty of traffic jams in the city’s southeast area thanks to the construction of the Valley Line LRT.
The LRT expansion is expected to be finished in 2020 and with that in mind, construction crews have been hard at work preparing the route.
“This is a really busy construction year for the TransEd Valley Line LRT,” said TransEd spokesperson Sue Heuman.
“There’s 13 kilometres of alignment and we’re working on almost every inch of it.”
Some areas south of the river are being affected more than others.
“There’s a lot of activity in Mill Woods, there’s a lot of work happening around Whitemud Drive and 75th Street, we’re building an elevated train station in the Davies area,” she said.
“The construction is under way in the river valley for the Tawatina bridge.”
Lane closures on 75th Street are causing headaches for Earl Sprague, the owner of Canar Rock Products, a provider of landscaping supplies.
“My entrance here on this street is the only one I have onto my property and it’s been constantly used by the construction group that works here,” he explained, standing on the edge of the street.
“We’re looking at up to 45 minutes sometimes trying to get in and out of here.”
The street is currently down to one lane in each direction in front of Sprague’s business.
“When you’re looking at the traffic that’s up here, from Wagner Road to Roper Road, it’s just continuous,” he said.
“It’s the same thing. It’s bumper to bumper. It’s that way all day. It’s affecting the people that want to come there.”
And that means Sprague’s bottom line is taking a hit.
“I’d say our sales are going to be down 20 to 30 per cent this year alone. Maybe more,” he said.
TransEd said it is trying to keep drivers informed of construction so they can avoid traffic jams.
“When we are doing work that’s going to impact people we always put a note out on our website with alternate route suggestions,” Heuman said.
But there’s no alternate route customers can take to access Canar Rock Products. Sprague reached out to his councillor for help and he hopes something will change soon.
As things stand, TransEd is calling on drivers to be smart around crews.
“You want to be able to have some patience around constructions zones. It’s really important to us that everyone gets home safely at the end of the day,” Heuman said.
“This is just the first major start of construction for the TransEd LRT so from our perspective it is a very big construction season for sure.”