TransEd says ‘all’ cracked piers on Valley Line LRT repaired, still no timeline for opening

Click to play video: 'Cracked piers repaired, winter 2023 opening for Valley Line LRT ‘possible’'
Cracked piers repaired, winter 2023 opening for Valley Line LRT ‘possible’
The company responsible for the beleaguered Valley Line Southeast LRT says it's in the last chapter of repair work but won't commit to a timeline for opening. Dan Grummett has more on the update from TransEd – Dec 20, 2022

The company responsible for building Edmonton’s beleaguered Valley Line LRT to southeast Edmonton says repair work on 30 cracked piers supporting elevated portions of the track happened “quicker than expected.”

But TransEd still isn’t ready to provide an estimate for when the project, which is two years behind schedule, could open to passengers.

“We are at the last chapter now. The repair is behind us and we are looking forward to opening this rail,” said TransEd CEO Ronald Joncas, who provided a project update to media on Tuesday.

“We just need a little bit more time.”

Read more: Cracks found in 18 piers delay Valley Line LRT southeast extension yet again

Joncas was asked by Global News whether a winter opening was possible.

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“Everything is possible,” he replied.

TransEd CEO Ronald Joncas speaks to media at a project update held at Davies LRT Station on Tuesday. Global News / Dan Grummett

The 13-kilometre rail line connecting downtown with Mill Woods was most recently expected to open this past summer. Engineers discovered cracks in several piers and different elevated sections of the track, delaying the project indefinitely. TransEd said the cracks were caused by insufficient steel reinforcement inside the rebar of the piers.

“We are 100 per cent confident these piers are strengthened,” Joncas said on Tuesday.

An image supplied by TransEd showing steel reinforcement of one of the 30 cracked piers on the Valley Line. TransEd

The next step towards an opening is resuming the testing process and having the $1.8 billion public-private partnership (P3) project certified by third-party safety inspectors.

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Joncas said that will involve running several scenarios, including mock emergencies, such as evacuating a train full of passengers in the tunneled portion of the track east of downtown.

“We need to simulate accident along the alignment. We need to involve the emergency services, fire department, the police. These are all kind of tests that needs to be carried out,” said Joncas.

Read more: Edmonton councillors frustrated, disappointed with latest Valley Line LRT setback

In a previous update in November, TransEd outlined the three ways in which the piers would be repaired.

One such method involved installing a belt-like steel beam around the mid-section of the pier. TransEd told Global News Tuesday that 15 of 30 cracked piers had been repaired using this method.

Half of the 30 cracked piers have been repaired using external steel beams, TransEd said Tuesday. TransEd

Joncas said the company is working with City of Edmonton staff on options to improve aesthetics.

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“There are wrapping options. There’s things we can add (such as) some form of artwork,” said Joncas, “There’s a myriad of options. I can say I’m losing count of them”

The cost of the repair work, which TransEd is responsible for, is being kept confidential. Joncas was asked about whether the company is in financial trouble as a result.

“We are committed to maintain and to operate this railway for the next 30 years,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Councillor Tim Cartmell shares his perspective on the Valley Line delays'
Councillor Tim Cartmell shares his perspective on the Valley Line delays

The City of Edmonton responded to the update with a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“While this delay has been frustrating, we are pleased with the progress TransEd has made on the repairs. I want to reiterate that TransEd is fully responsible for the cost of repairing the piers, and continues to forfeit payments every month the system is not operational,” said deputy city manager Adam Laughlin.

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TransEd said Edmontonians can expect to see trains running the full length of the track as part of testing before the new year.


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