Edmonton

Edmonton official thanks residents for patience with new LRT line

At a media unveiling of the new Metro LRT line, the city’s transportation manager thanked people for their patience in waiting for the system, and said some of them will need even more in coming weeks as they deal with the resulting traffic jams.

The new Metro LRT line will open Sunday, ending headaches for city officials and creating new ones for drivers

Transportation manager Darion Wandzura spoke to the media Thursday before giving a tour of the new LRT line. (CBC)

At a media unveiling of the new Metro LRT line, the city's transportation manager thanked people for their patience in waiting for the system, and said some of them will need even more in coming weeks as they deal with the resulting traffic jams.

"On behalf of the city, I'd like to thank the people of Edmonton for their patience, and welcome everyone aboard the Metro Line," Dorian Wandzura said Thursday. "While this project has faced many challenges, we are opening Edmonton's new LRT extension to public service in time for the start of the 2015­-16 school year."

But Wandzura admitted the Metro Line will also change local traffic patterns on several already busy roads that pass the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Kingsway Mall.

The Metro Line intersects with several roads between MacEwan Station and NAIT Station. Since trains take priority when they travel through intersections, some traffic delays are inevitable, Wandzura said.

Earlier this week, transportation officials said motorists can expect to wait up to 16 minutes during peak hours where the line crosses Princess Elizabeth and 111th avenues. Cars and trucks will be backed up for blocks and drivers will have to wait up to four light cycles to get through.

Wandzura said the city expects traffic wait times to decrease as drivers grow accustomed to the new LRT line, and allow more time for travel or find alternate routes.

"Over time, and with patience from everyone, people will adapt to the change as Metro Line service improves," he said.

The new line connects Churchill Station downtown with NAIT, MacEwan University, Kingsway Mall and the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The Metro Line is expected to bring more than 13,000 new passengers to the LRT network every weekday.

The $755-million came in about $90 million under budget, for a total project cost of $665 million, Wandzura said.

The Metro line will open to public service on Sunday.

Initially, trains will run every 15 minutes between Churchill Station and NAIT Station using a 25 km/h speed restriction.

Once the speed restriction is lifted, and the signal system is fully operational, Metro Line trains will offer 10-minute service between Churchill and NAIT.

LRT passengers should give themselves more travel time to make connections between buses and LRT, Wandzura said.

The staged implementation requires a reduction in LRT frequency between Churchill and Clareview Station. During peak periods, trains will run every five or 10 minutes.

The city said it will offset the reduction in frequency by using five-­car trains.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now