Construction has officially started on the newest extension of Edmonton’s LRT.
Mayor Don Iveson was joined by Infrastructure Ministers Brian Mason and Amarjeet Sohi as they broke the ground on the Valley line this morning.
The line will run over 13km from downtown to Mill Woods. It’s expected to cost 1.8 billion dollars and should be done by 2020.
A small contingent of protesters carried signs and chanted during the ground breaking for the LRT. They’re wanting to get their point across, river valleys and mass transit don’t mix. Mayor Don Iveson says everything needed to be done, to mitigate the river crossing has been taken care of.
“Anytime you cross the river there’s going to be environmental impacts, and the city did incredible work to study those and to mitigate those as best as possible, and that’s one of the reasons why actually the new bridge is going where the old bridge was. So that we don’t have an additional bridge crossing the river which has huge disruption to the ecosystem to put in.”
Provincial transportation minister Brian Mason says something like this is inevitable.
“Well there’s always going to be trade-offs and impacts, but this LRT will also probably reduce the number of cars on the road very substantially.”
It’s expected when the first trains roll in 2020, there will be 31 thousand passengers a day, meaning 17-thousand vehicles will be taken off the road.
Construction will be headed up by the TransEd partnership, a group put together by Bombardier, Bechtel, Ellisdon, and Fengate. They’ve created a website to keep Edmontonians updated on how things are going with the Valley line. (kdr, sj)