Intersection near West Edmonton Mall the focus of LRT info session Thursday night

The intersection of 178 Street and 87 Avenue, near West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alta. Google Streetview

The west leg of the Valley Line LRT is slated to run through a very busy intersection in the west end, so the city of Edmonton is holding an information session for residents to have their say on whether the train should go over — or under — the road.

The crossing at 178 Street and 87 Avenue — a busy intersection at the southwest corner of West Edmonton Mall — will be discussed at a public engagement session on Thursday night.

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It’s the second meeting of this kind: last week the city held a meeting on whether the LRT should be raised above or tunnelled below the high-volume intersection of Stony Plain Road and 149 Street.

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The second stage of the Valley Line LRT will see a 14-kilometre stretch built between downtown and Lewis Farms in west Edmonton. The city is holding the session to hear from residents — particularly those who live, work and commute in and through the area.

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The city said elevating the west LRT line over both major intersections would add between $50 million and $75 million to the overall cost, which is currently pegged at $1.8 billion.

Going under would be even more expensive: the city estimates an underground section would cost $175 million to $200 million.

“Generally speaking, when you take LRT above ground, it’s typically three to five times as much,” Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack said last week. “To go below, it’s five to 10 times as much.”

Preliminary engineering for the west leg was done in 2013 and the city said it is now ready to review and refine the design since it’s been four years since the original work took place.

The city said this an important step and will position the project for construction when additional funds become available. The west leg is the city’s top transit priority when it comes to seeking federal and provincial funding.

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READ MORE: LRT through downtown Edmonton will have a maximum speed of 30 km/h

Thursday’s session will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Aldergrove Community Hall (8535 – 182 St.)

The first stage of the Valley Line — from downtown to Mill Woods — is currently under construction.

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