City of Edmonton unveils design of 50 Street rail crossing overpass

Traffic tied up due to a train on 50 Street and the Sherwood Park Freeway in Edmonton. April 2018. Shaye Ganam/Global News

The design work for the 50 Street train crossing in east Edmonton is complete.

The at-grade rail Canadian Pacific Railway crossing has been a headache for drivers for years. In 2018, the federal government committed $40 million to add grade separation at the crossing at 50 Street and 82 Avenue.

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In a video released online Tuesday, the City of Edmonton unveiled the design for the project, which will see an overpass created above the train tracks.

“This is something that we’ve been exploring over the past couple of years and looking at a number of different scenarios. We looked an at underpass, we looked at an overpass and ultimately through our value engineering, looking at risk, looking at cost and making sure that we’re getting best value for money, we have settled on an overpass,” Natalie Lazurko with the City of Edmonton said.

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The plan will also see 50 Street widened to three lanes in each direction, separated by a median between 90 Avenue and the Sherwood Park Freeway.

Sidewalks and a shared-use path will also be constructed along the overpass.

A new road will also be built under the overpass, to connect 82 and 84 avenues.

According to the city, about eight trains cross this section of 50 Street every day, on top of dozens of switching operations. This results 50 Street being blocked between 35 and 64 times per day, the city said.

Approximately 32,000 to 35,000 vehicles pass through the area on a daily basis.

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The city said a roadway overpass was selected as the solution to the traffic tie-ups rather than an underpass for a number of reasons: it’s less expensive, quicker to complete, minimizes drainage and flooding issues, requires less land and there are fewer impacts to the land surrounding the overpass.

The city said overpass construction will also be quieter than underpass construction, and fewer detours will be required for drivers.

Early construction work, including the relocation of utilities and building a detour, is set to begin this year. Lazurko said the project will go back to council in the fall as part of the supplemental capital budget adjustment for approval of the final costs. If approved, work on the overpass itself is scheduled to begin in 2022 and be complete by 2026.

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An online information session for the public is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 21. The public will be able to view the plans and ask questions.

More information on the project and the online info session can be found on the city’s website.

The municipal, provincial and federal government all provided funding for the project.

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