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Work begins to make way for Green Line LRT tunnel under downtown Calgary

The project will see the installation of new utility lines so the current lines can be removed in the future when construction begins on a tunnel under Calgary's downtown core. Global News

Shovels are in the ground on some early work to clear the way along the future route of the Green Line LRT beneath the streets of Calgary’s downtown core.

The project, which kicked off on Monday, will see the installation of new utility lines so the current lines can be removed in the future when construction begins to tunnel under the downtown core.

“Everything from our internet and phone lines to stormwater, gas, electricity,” Green Line director of stakeholder relations and communications Wendy Tynan said.

At $100 million, the utility relocation project is one of the early projects in anticipation of the $5.5 billion Green Line LRT line, which includes a tunnel with stations that will run from the east side of Victoria Park near the Elbow River under the core and through to Eau Claire.

Read more: Costs escalating for Calgary’s Green Line LRT project, city committee hears

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According to Tynan, there won’t be any disruptions to utilities during the relocation, but there will be traffic interruptions.

“There’s no doubt that when we need to get underneath the roads, it’s going to be disruptive at times,” Tynan said. “So we do have some road closures and Calgarians are going to notice that.”

Managed by PCL Construction, work is currently underway along 12 Avenue S.E. between Third and Sixth street S.E. There will also be construction along 11 Avenue S.E. in the same area.

As the project progresses, construction will shift to Second Street S.W. between Seventh Avenue S.W. and Riverfront Avenue S.W.

Tynan said the city is consulting with businesses that may be impacted by the ongoing construction, which is expected to take two years.

“We’ve got teams on the ground that will be working with stakeholders throughout this entire project,” Tynan said. “But the more we know, the more we can help Calgarians plan for it.”

Tynan said there will be accommodations for Flames games as well as the upcoming Calgary Stampede.

Read more: Advocates concerned about future funding call for total cost of Calgary’s Green Line LRT

Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek told reporters on Tuesday that it “feels like we’ve been talking about the Green Line forever,” and that the start of preliminary construction is “incredibly encouraging.”

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“I’m really happy to see this project becoming tangible and real,” Gondek said. “So this is really, really good news in a time that we need some in this city.”

But construction on a tunnel remains many years away.

Last month, the City of Calgary put out a request for qualifications to help develop a shortlist for companies that can build the Green Line LRT project.

According to the city’s timeline, request for proposals will be sent out to select a development partner in early 2023.

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