On Tuesday, a closed-door workshop was held by the Green Line LRT committee and other members of council who wanted to attend to hear from city administration and the latest work done on the project.
Administration’s updated plan gets rid of the tunnel under the Bow River and the tunnel to 16 Avenue N. A bridge would be used, with a surface station in Eau Claire at 2 Avenue S.W.
The train will cross over Prince’s Island and Memorial Drive across a bridge and then it will travel along the surface on Centre Street.
However, the mayor admitted that even with the updates to the line, there are still some challenges.
“The bit around Eau Claire and Chinatown is super tricky, but the good news about it is that there’s one major redevelopment being proposed and a large area that would be open for future development. So there may be an opportunity to work with the adjoining landowners and try figure out those tricky bits.” Naheed Nenshi said.
The Green Line will still travel under the downtown with an underground alignment on 11 Avenue in the beltline, surfacing around 7 Street S.E. but the tunnelling will not be as deep.
Those working on the Green Line were directed to make changes in July after they were told the project was looking to be about 10 per cent over budget.
Michael Thompson, general manager of the Green Line project said the revised alignment gets the project back to the $4.9 billion budget.
“Everything we talked about with committee about today — we’re fitting within that budget. If you recall back in the summer we raised concerns that, we were running about 10 per cent over that budget. Now we’re on budget and we’re happy with the progress we’ve made”
The reason Tuesday’s meeting was in-camera — according to the committee — is because commercially sensitive information was discussed and if made public, it could harm the city economically when it requests tenders from the private sector to do the work required on the alignment.
Councillor Shane Keating said the meeting covered a lot including concerns over costs and other risks the new proposals are on the table
“They looked at ridership, what happens if there was a break in the alignment, what would the drop in ridership be, what would the ridership be if we extended to this station instead of the preferred alignment,” Keating said.
Keating, who is often referred to as council’s champion for the Green Line said what ultimately gets approved won’t please everyone.
“It’s just not possible to satisfy everyone,” he said.
“This fits within the budget, it gives the best customer experience, it gives the best ridership for the return in investment.”
The updated alignment also includes 21 kilometres of BRT enhancements.
Starting Jan. 29, Calgarians will be able to provide feedback on the updated alignment online and at in-person events later in February and early March.
Administration is expected to present the recommendations to council for a final decision in March.