Edmonton

Metro LRT line delayed again, will not open until early 2015

The opening of the Metro LRT line will be delayed until at least February 2015, the city announced Wednesday.
Mayor Don Iveson reacts to the news that the opening of the Metro Line will be delayed again 2:15

The opening of the Metro LRT line will be delayed until at least February 2015, the city announced Wednesday.

This is the second delay for the opening of the Metro LRT line, which would serve the areas around the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Kingsway Mall and NAIT.  It was originally scheduled to open several months ago but was pushed until the end of 2014. City officials say February 2015 is the earliest the line will open.

While the infrastructure is complete and under budget, the new signalling system that will allow the two lines to share the same track is causing delays. 

“We’re in the home stretch,” said Dorian Wandzura, the general manager of the city’s transportation services, in a news release.

“Our signalling system contractor is making progress, but unfortunately won’t be able to deliver the system in time to open the Metro line this year.”

Mayor Don Iveson said that he is frustrated and disappointed with the further delays, calling them "unacceptable." 

He has asked the city auditor to review how the project has been managed. Recently Iveson met with the head of the Ottawa company that is causing the delays.

"It is an ongoing project and in order for it to be successful, everyone has to stay focused, not on pointing fingers at each other, but on actually getting the work done," he said.

"When the work is complete, there will  have to be a discussion about accountabilities and compensation."

The contract spells out cash penalties for any delays. City transportation staff say that will be reviewed once the project is finished.

The NAIT Students' Association is also raising the issue of the $155 per-semester fee that students pay for a mandatory U-Pass. 

"The service they were promised when they voted for U-Pass hasn't begun," said Jason Roth, advocacy director for NAITSA, in a press release. 

"By the time this line opens, most of the academic year will be over and students are understandably upset. I am not surprised that the suggestion of a partial refund for the U-Pass has been raised."

The cost of a full refund would be more than $1 million. But the students' association aren't looking that since they were given special bus service to make up for the LRT delay.

Iveson said council hasn't considered that issue yet. 

"We can have a conversation about that, but I'm not going to speculate because council hasn't discussed the notion of a rebate at all," he said. 

The Metro LRT line will run from the Churchill LRT station to NAIT. (Supplied/City of Edmonton)

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