The company selected to build the west leg of Calgary's C-Train system will have to pay penalties if it misses the scheduled 2012 opening day.

A consortium led by engineering firm SNC-Lavalin has won the contract to design and build the $1-billion project, Mayor Dave Bronconnier said Thursday.

"The time frame that has been established with our contractors is to have this piece of infrastructure open as our first day of revenue service, which begins at 5 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2012, and we fully expect our team to deliver," said Bronconnier.

"This firm that has been selected, SNC-Lavalin, they've just completed the line in Vancouver and again that project was delivered on time."

Bronconnier said the total budget comes in at about $1 billion, which includes the cost of acquiring land and other significant infrastructure.

West LRT facts

  • Approved by city council in November 2007.
  • Expected to serve 90,000 Calgarians in the city's west.
  • Six new stations.
  • Two park-and-ride lots.
  • City's first underground and elevated LRT stations.

"At the same time, it's building a new high school on the west side of the city. It is including the interchange at 17th Avenue and Sarcee Trail and all other related civil works, including buying the right-of-way required to construct this particular piece of infrastructure," said Bronconnier.

Several dozen properties along 17th Avenue Southwest and Ernest Manning High School are being demolished to make way for the project.

The provincial government is funding about 90 per cent.

"When this project is complete, we will have doubled the size of Calgary's LRT system in just over a decade," said the mayor.

The eight-kilometre west leg, which will run out of downtown along Bow Trail and end at 69th Street, is slated to start construction next spring. There will be six new stations, including the city's first underground stop at Westbrook. 

The west leg is the city's first light-rail transit line in 20 years, since the northwest section was built to the University of Calgary in 1987.