Century Park Station will be open for LRT riders April 25. ((CBC/Jim MacQuarrie) )

Officials from Edmonton Transit provided a sneak peek this morning for the LRT extension to Southgate and Century Park stations.

Regular service to the stations in south Edmonton will begin April 25.

"We're expecting the overall number of boardings on a weekday to double compared to what we had when the line ended at the University Station," said Ken Koropeski, director of service development with Edmonton Transit.

The extension will add about 50,000 riders a day, he said. Once it's open, express buses to downtown from Southgate and Century Park transit centres will be discontinued.

"It's going to be very fast getting to the university and downtown, operating in a dedicated right of way, [it] won't be subjected to traffic delays or traffic congestion."

Edmonton Transit has heard lots of interest from people living in south Edmonton about the new stations, Koropeski said. That has Bob Boutelier, the general manager of transportation for ETS, "both excited and fearful."


Bob Boutelier, general manager of transportation for Edmonton Transit, says the opening of the new Century Park station has him 'excited and fearful.' ((CBC))

The excitement is over the LRT extending so far into residential communities, Boutelier said.

The fear is over concerns the initial ridership might be overwhelming. ETS will have express buses on standby just in case the number of new riders is more than anticipated, he said.

The line won't stop at Century Park, he said.

"The train's going to go at least to the city boundary, that's a given."

There are proposals to run the LRT as far as the airport, but that would depend on ridership and how jurisdictions south of Edmonton respond, he said.

One idea would be to develop a public transit corridor along a potential route for the LRT that could see express buses to the airport from Century Park, Boutelier said.

A public celebration of the opening of the extension is planned for April 24, with ceremonies beginning at 10 a.m. at Southgate and then 10:30 a.m. at Century Park.