Green Line LRT will be built in stages, city officials say

It's looking less likely that Calgary's next LRT line can be built from one end to the other at the same time, according to city officials.

Will likely have to be extended at either end in the future

Commuters at either end of the Green Line will have to wait years for the line to extend to their neighbourhoods. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

It's looking less likely that Calgary's next LRT line can be built from one end to the other at the same time, according to city officials.

"We'll have a section fed by buses at the terminus and then we'll expand the terminus as we go on," said Councillor Shane Keating, a strong advocate of the Green Line, on Monday.

The city and the federal government have each committed $1.5 billion to build the Green Line, which will run the length of Calgary from Stoney Trail in the north through to Seton in the deep southeast.

The cost of the project is expected to reach $5 or $6 billion.

The province is still assessing the city's request for financing, but even if the province matches that figure, it's not enough to build the line from north to south.

The city plans to start construction of the Green Line LRT route this summer, depending on funding from the province and the federal government. (City of Calgary)

Like other LRT lines, what is built will ultimately be added on to at some future date, said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

"So even what we're looking at now is all the way from Shepard to Beddington — that's still almost as much LRT as we have in Calgary," he said.

Coun. Keating says it's important to build the underground section in the core. But he'll be pushing to extend the line as far southeast as possible.

"If you don't get to the ridership on the extreme ends, then you're failing," Keating said.

Keating says the southeast portion has to at least go to McKenzie Towne in order to be effective in that end of the city.

"In the future, the north central is going to expand their population and their employment centre, but they still won't meet what the future holds for the southeast."

Keating says he expects a final decision on the Green Line, and how much of it can initially be built, sometime this June.

With files from Scott Dippel