Edmonton

City on track to finalize plan for west leg of Valley Line LRT

Edmonton is on track to finalize its plan for the western leg of the Valley Line LRT, more than three years after completing the preliminary designs.

The second stage of the LRT line will extend from 102nd Street downtown to Lewis Farms

Dozens of people attended the first of two public engagement sessions about the proposed western leg of the LRT. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Edmonton is on track to finalize its plan for the western leg of the Valley Line LRT, more than three years after completing the preliminary designs.

The 14-kilometre route will extend from 102nd Street downtown to Lewis Farms. It's the second leg of the Valley Line, which is now under construction in southeast Edmonton.

Once both stages are completed, 27 kilometres of track will connect southeast and west Edmonton.

"We've gone decades in the west end without mass transit of this kind," said Andrew Knack, city councillor for Ward 1. "It's new for everyone."

New federal funding in 2016 prompted the city to review its preliminary design, which was completed in 2013.

"That funding allows us to carry out updates to the preliminary design," said Eva Cheung, western Valley Line project manager.

"Lots of changes have happened on the west end so we want to take a look at the corridor, see what has changed and then see if there are any updates that need to be done."

The city hosted a public engagement session Wednesday to hear from people who live near the proposed LRT sites.

Reviews of the preliminary plan include two busy intersections in west Edmonton. Wednesday's public meeting emphasized the importance of the intersection of 149th Street and Stony Plain Road.

"That was always a particular pinch point that I worried about," Knack said. "That's part of why we need to do these meetings."

The additional funding allows for grade separation that would keep vehicle traffic moving more smoothly.

If all goes well, Knack said construction could start as early as 2020 and end by 2025. The western leg of the Valley Line will cost at least $1.4 billion, he added.

Ottawa could foot up to half that bill, while the province has verbally pledged to pay 40 per cent. The city is waiting for written confirmation from both levels of government, Knack said.

Another engagement session is scheduled for June 29 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Aldergrove community hall, where the focus will be on the intersection of 178th Street and 87th Avenue.

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