West LRT final cost reaches $1.4B

An audit of the West LRT construction project shows the orginal budget almost doubled due to design changes and expropriation costs

Original budget was $700 million

The West LRT opened late last year, and the budget came in much higher than expected. (CBC)

The cost of the West LRT line has reached $1.4 billion, according to a city audit.

Officially, the project came in under budget. However, the budget was revised many times during planning and construction.

Ald. Gord Lowe says even when city countil approved the LRT line in 2007, it knew the project would cost about a billion dollars.

"We knew full well there was land acquistion to deal with, changes in the alignment which drove the cost up," said Lowe.

Many of those costs were not directly related to the train line. The city paid to construct a new building for Ernest Manning High School. It also paid for a major interchange at Sarcee Trail and had to expropriate more land than expected.

The audit found numerous city processes on contracts and procurement have changed since 2007, which should result in better cost control on future projects.