Edmonton transit 'cautiously optimistic' LRT will open in May ... or June

On Tuesday, LRT construction manager Wayne Mandryk said the new NAIT line will definitely open ... in either late May or early June.

City's mantra about long-delayed Metro LRT unlikely to replace City of Champions slogan

You must remember this: In November 2012, then-mayor Stephen Mandel, then-public works minister Rona Ambrose and then-deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk pose for the cameras after tunnelling crews broke through the wall at Churchill Station to connect the Metro Line with Edmonton’s existing LRT network.

Cautiously optimistic.

No one is suggesting those words as a possible new motto for Edmonton, given that City of Champions has fallen on hard times.

But consider this.

In January, city officials gave an update on the status of the long-delayed Metro LRT line, and said they were "cautiously optimistic" it would open this May.

In March, another update, where city officials said they were still "cautiously optimistic" the line would open by the May deadline.

On Tuesday, came the most recent news, when LRT construction manager Wayne Mandryk said the city is now "cautiously optimistic" the new line will open … in either late May or early June.

Mandryk called reporters together to tell them there were "a few issues" found among the 100 documents the city needs before the contractor, Thales Rail Signalling Solutions, can complete the "handover" on the project.

What that means is, while going through piles of paperwork - everything from design plans to safety reports - the city "found a few holes in the documentation," Mandryk said.

"These are things like, perhaps, signatures, some missing test reports we expected to receive."

The holes in the documentation have to be filled before the city can take over the system. After that, it will take four to six weeks to train operators before the line that links the NAIT campus with downtown can open to paying customers.

Mandryk wouldn't offer a definite date for when that will happen.

"Late June would certainly be a bad scenario," he said, when asked directly. "We certainly expect to open before then."

He did say the first week of May is no longer possible. But the line could open sometime that month.

"Good news," said Coun. Tony Caterina. "But we have to be very, very cautious. We've had news before, we've had dates set before that haven't been met."

But Caterina said he'd rather wait a little longer than open a system that isn't absolutely safe.

"It'll be great for next year," said NAIT student Matthew Johnson. "But my program ends in April."

Of course, he's back for second year starting in September. Surely by then ...


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