Design of LRT Valley Line unveiled; project still missing more than $500 million

EDMONTON – The project is still missing more than $500 million in funding, but Edmontonians are getting a glimpse at what the Valley LineĀ of the LRT will eventually look like.

“It looks really nice. It puts us into the 21st century finally,” said Serge Dupuis.

Dupuis was one of many Edmontonians who attended an open house at City Hall Thursday, where the final preliminary design of the entire 27 kilometre Valley Line, from Mill Woods to Lewis Farms, was unveiled.

The design plans outline a number of things such as where stations will be located, how roads will be changed, and what impacts construction will have on the environment and established neighbourhoods.

“Reviewing the plans here, I find that there will be no on-street parking on 85 Street between 92 Avenue and 93 Avenue,” said Fred Alexandruk, who owns property on 85 Street.

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Alexandruk is concerned that once the Hollyrood LRT Station is built, residents who live on the stretch of 85 Street will only be able to access their homes through the back lane.

“I am in full support of the LRT going ahead, and with the station where it is, I don’t have a problem with that. The problem I have is that the City should get that back lane completely rebuilt, refurbished before any construction begins on 85 Street.”

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The design plans also showcase what the stations and stops will look like. City staff say a lot of time and consideration has gone into the planning and engineering up until this point, adding the new low-floor urban line design will also be more traffic-friendly.

“It integrates into the communities that it’s serving a little more seamlessly, the shelters are smaller, the platforms are closer to the ground, it’s also going to have what we call a partial priority signalling system,” explained Nat Alampi, Program Manager, Valley Line LRT.

“The LRT will run in its own exclusive right-of-way. However, it will share a signalling system – a traffic signalling system – with the cars,” said Alampi. “So, if traffic crossing the LRT line has a fresh green, then the train may be held back a few seconds to let a little bit more cross traffic to go through. But if the cross traffic has a stale green, then the LRT takes priority and it will trip the red and continue on its way through.”

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But while the plans are set, the City continues to push to secure funding for the project from the provincial and federal governments.

“The thing is, it’s a very exciting opportunity, but it’s very frustrating for us,” said Ward 5 City Councillor Michael Oshry. “This is a huge priority for the City and we’re all really pushing to get it done. And for us in the west end, it’s a long time coming and I’m not optimistic it’s going to get there as soon as I’d like it to get there. But it’s a huge priority for me.”

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Alampi says City Administration is currently putting together the procurement package, “so that once the funding is in place, we’re able to go right out to the market.”

“I’m not concerned at all. Eventually it’ll get built, ’cause it’s putting your priorities in the right place,” added Dupuis.

City Council’s next meeting is on Nov. 19, to determine how to proceed on the project.

The City’s Valley Line LRT Final Preliminary Design has been posted below:

Valley Line LRT Preliminary Design

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With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.

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