Projected cost of Edmonton’s Valley Line West LRT jumps by $440M

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Projected cost of Edmonton’s Valley Line West LRT rises by $440M
WATCH ABOVE: The proposed cost of building the West LRT in Edmonton has ballooned to more than $2 billion. Quinn Ohler reports – Mar 13, 2018

City staff have released a new report with updated design recommendations for the West LRT that includes seven changes and a much higher price tag.

Changing the design at a couple of intersection crossings in the west, compared to the 2011 recommendations, will increase the cost from $1.8 billion to $2.24 billion.

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

The increase also includes a dramatically larger park-and-ride facility at Lewis Estates. The report recommends adjusting the location of the LRT stop and storage facility and increasing the size of the park-and-ride lot to about 900 stalls — at a cost of about $24 million.

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

The new design also includes grade separations at 178 Street, where the track will be raised, as well as a north/south 149 Street, where the track will stay at-grade along Stony Plain Road. The report estimates adding these grade separations will cost $240 million.

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Coun. Andrew Knack likes the idea for 178 Street but isn’t fond of the changes proposed for 149 Street.

“I think the money, because we’re already above ground, we’re not spending a lot of new money to reach that point. It makes a lot of sense to do that.”

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However, he feels the cost of the changes suggested for 149 Street don’t justify the overall time savings.

“We’re talking about saving 99 seconds for probably the busiest part of the traffic for $160 million for one particular area,” Knack said. “I think there’s better use of that money when we’re worried about traffic flow.”

Meanwhile, the plan has a station being taken off 124 Street and put a block east at 123 Street.

Coun. Scott McKeen would rather see the station located at 125 Street instead of 123 Street because it would better serve Westmount residents.

“We’re planning an LRT transportation system for the next 100 years and there will be problems as far as what people see today of their urban realm.

“Things will probably change. But we’re going to have a lot of questions about that and try to minimize the impact and have a great LRT system to the west,” he said.

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

“The recommended concept plan amendments… would have an impact to the overall Valley Line West project budget,” the report reads.

“The Valley Line West capital construction cost is currently estimated at $2.24 billion. This project cost estimate includes the seven design recommendations noted above and factors in inflation, assuming a construction start in 2019.”

City council will debate the report at a public hearing on March 21.

Valley Line West LRT – March 13, 2018 by Anonymous TdomnV9OD4 on Scribd

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— With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News

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