Southwest BRT construction hinges on gas line questions, says Calgary councillor
ATCO runs a high-pressure gas line next to 14th Street S.W.
A city councillor says the southwest transitway cannot go ahead until ATCO reveals what it wants to do with a high-pressure gas line.
The city wants to widen 14th Street to include two bus-only lanes, but that would mean building new traffic lanes on top of the gas line for a couple of kilometres.
ATCO intends to replace the gas line with a new one that will go in next to the southwest ring road.
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Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart says safety is paramount, and construction can't start on 14th Street until the gas line issue is sorted out.
"There's no way in hell's half acre that we're going to rip up 14th Street twice in order to replace those lines — which they have the jurisdiction to do and the authority over us to do — and then have us ripping up the road to put in a rapid transit system," said Colley-Urquhart, whose Ward 13 will include part of the southwest BRT.
"That to me, today, is the most important issue that we need to deal with and get answers to."
The southwest BRT has been a contentious issue in Calgary. The project, which is expected to cost more than $40 million, includes dedicated bus lanes to be built along 14th Street S.W. between Glenmore Trail and Southland Drive, with the goal of improving transit service to downtown and key destinations such as Mount Royal University, Rockyview Hospital, Glenmore Landing, Heritage Park and Lincoln Park.
The project has sparked significant public opposition, with public advocacy group Ready to Engage slamming the city for a lack of engagement on the project. Last month, Mayor Naheed Nenshi cancelled further public meetings about the BRT after they became too rowdy.
Ready to Engage members say if all questions about safety, ridership, cost can be answered, they'll support the southwest BRT.
Construction on the transitway is set to begin in 2017.