Updated Valley Line West design to be shown at Wednesday open house

Rendering of the Valley Line LRT west Misercordia Hospital station. Credit: City of Edmonton

As the City of Edmonton moves towards a finalized plan for the $1.8-billion west leg of the Valley Line LRT, residents will have a chance to see what adjustments have already been made to the preliminary design.

Residents are invited to a public information and engagement session from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul’s Anglican Church (10127 145 St.)

The city said updated design options and recommendations will be presented based on technical requirements and prior feedback, and people will be able to provide additional input for a report that will go to city council.

POLL: Edmonton unveils 14 pieces of art for Valley Line LRT – do you like them?

The second stage of the Valley Line LRT will see a 14-kilometre stretch built between downtown and Lewis Farms in west Edmonton. Preliminary engineering for the west leg was done in 2013 and the city is now reviewing and refining the design since it’s been five years since the original work took place.

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Last summer, the city held several information sessions to gather feedback about the LRT crossing several busy west-end intersections, including the crossing at 149 Street and Stony Plain Road, and at 178 Street and 87 Avenue beside West Edmonton Mall.

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

READ MORE: Proposal would make part of Stony Plain Road a one-way street to save LRT costs

After hearing concerns about traffic congestion from residents, the city has started exploring the idea of building trenches for the Metro Line expansion, which would extend the LRT from NAIT to the far northwest corner of the city near St. Albert.

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READ MORE: Edmonton exploring idea of trenches for northwest LRT expansion

Trenching would see trains go below ground, but not completely underground — similar to how the Capital Line does at two intersections between the University of Alberta and Southgate Centre mall — and is less expensive than going fully underground or overground.

A rendering of what trenched LRT tracks would look like at 127 Street and 153 Avenue in Edmonton. Courtesy, City of Edmonton

The city hasn’t said if it is also considering trenches for the west leg of the LRT.

The first stage of the Valley Line – from downtown to Mill Woods – is currently under construction and is expected to be operational by 2020.

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