City officials have unveiled a plan to encapsulate a section of the LRT line east of City Hall so that a new central library can be built over top of it.

The library is slated to be built in the East Village, directly beside the Calgary Municipal Building, where the C-Train cuts an arc across the property and descends from street level into an underground tunnel.

new central library

Work is getting underway to encapsulate the LRT tracks east of City Hall that will run underneath the new central library. (City of Calgary )

“It's an exceptional location with just one notable challenge,” the city said in a release.

“Fortunately, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) — the organization charged with the revitalization of East Village and the development of the New Central Library — doesn't shy away from monumental challenges.”

The process of encapsulating 135 metres of LRT track is projected to take up to 18 months at a cost of less than $25 million, which is part of the library’s overall $245 million price tag.

"Projects like this are very exciting and allow us to really leverage our creative abilities," said Brock Schroeder of Entuitive, the lead structural engineering consultant for the new library.

"Coming up with a way to build over a busy transit line without interrupting service is something that's never been done before in Calgary. Beyond creating a barrier to separate construction activity from train and passenger activity, we've developed a solution that keeps the encapsulation as narrow as possible and that will also serve as part of the permanent foundation system for the new central library."

Last year a selection committee chose a combined bid from Snøhetta, which has offices in New York and Oslo, and DIALOG, a Canadian firm with locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto, to design the new library.

A detailed design of the library will be unveiled this fall. The project is expected to be finished by 2018.

CMLC produced a video animation depicting the four-stage job of encasing the LRT tracks. On mobile? Click here to watch it.