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Construction Preparation

With construction planned to start in 2020, there is a significant amount of work to be done along the corridor to get ready for that important milestone. Some of the upcoming construction preparation work can be found below.

Questions about this work, or the Valley Line West project, can be directed to LRTprojects@edmonton.ca or 780-496-4874.

Upcoming Construction Preparation Work

Trees and Shrubbery

November 2019 Update

  • Crews have removed 11 trees, including ash, crabapples and spruce from along the LRT route. These trees have been relocated to Summerlea Park.

  • Crews are removing about 16 trees located on medians along 104 Avenue from 121 Street to 113 Street. This will allow crews to remove the medians to accommodate future LRT construction in the area.

Utility Relocations

Much of the work to prepare Valley Line West for construction goes on underground where a large network of electric, water, gas and telecommunications utility infrastructure is located. Utilities in some areas must be relocated to make way for LRT infrastructure, like the tracks that will be built to carry the trains.

87 Avenue at 159 Street - September 16 to end of December
Epcor crews will relocate large storm and sanitary sewer trunks to make way for future LRT construction. A new manhole will be constructed, new pipes will be installed and an existing manhole will be rehabilitated. During construction, 87 Avenue will be reduced to 2 lanes with some turning restrictions in the area and the closure of the east sidewalk at 87 Avenue and 159 Street. Bus stop #5578 will be closed. Please use #5405 on Meadowlark Road. Please view the Epcor construction notice for full details.

87 Avenue from 165 Street to 170 Street - October 7 to end of March 2020
Epcor crews will construct 2 new manholes using a drill rig and new pipes will be installed. 87 Avenue will be reduced to 2 lanes in each direction. Bus stop #5070 will be closed. Please use #5583 or #5545 instead. Emergency vehicle access to Misericordia Hospital will be maintained at all times but patients, staff and visitors are asked to use the east entrance on 165 Street. Please review the Epcor construction notice for full details.

Buildings

Crews are removing vacant buildings on City-owned properties along the Valley Line West route to make way for future construction and LRT infrastructure. No sidewalk or road closures are expected. Properties will be contained with fencing and crews will use excavators and other machinery along with large bins to remove debris and materials as work progresses. This work is expected to last through the construction season this year.

About the Project

It’s the second stage of the Valley Line, an urban-style 27 km line that will operate between Mill Woods in southeast Edmonton and Lewis Farms in west Edmonton.

Learn more about the history of public engagement or the project

Project Update — April 2019

On Tuesday April 30, 2019, City Council approved the municipal funding contribution of $444 million for Valley Line West and applied the federal and provincial contributions to the project budget. That means Valley Line West is fully funded and can move forward through procurement and construction, extending the Valley Line West 14 kilometres from Downtown to Lewis Farms.

Valley Line West Preliminary Design

Procurement

Update - November 2019
The City is launching a new procurement process for the project. Valley Line West will be delivered using a design-build-finance (DBF) model. This type of contract requires the successful bidder to undertake the design and construction of the project and provide partial private financing. The City will procure light rail vehicles separately and is currently exploring options related to that approach. Please read our media release and industry bulletin for more information.

Background
The project entered into procurement in March 2019, which involved a rigorous competitive process to select a team that can deliver the project. A shortlist of pre-qualified teams was released on May 31, 2019.

In July, 2 of the 3 shortlisted teams withdrew from the process for unrelated reasons. The project team spent the following months conducting sounding interviews with market participants. This development is not anticipated to have an impact on the overall schedule for the project. 

You can learn more about the project from the Business Case summary. Please see the Valley Line West Procurement Fact Sheet for additional details.

Virtual Reality Video

View our 360-degree virtual reality video of the Alex Decoteau stop on the Valley Line West route. See first-hand how the Valley Line LRT will transform communities into more walkable, street-oriented places for people to live, work and play.

Where We Are

Valley Line West is in the procurement phase which involves undertaking a rigorous competitive process to select a team who can effectively deliver the project.

The City will issue its Request for Qualifications on Tuesday January 7, 2020. The process will be complete by the end of 2020, with another 5 to 6 years to complete construction.

Valley Line West Booklet

Valley Line West Booklet (16 MB)

Note: All images and renderings remain subject to change and are not final. Final designs will be shared publicly when complete.

102 Street to Lewis Farms

Map Legend

Design Phase Design Phase Park and Ride Park & Ride
Elevated Elevated Public Engagement Public Engagement Meeting(s)
Bridge Bridge Stops or Stations Stops or Stations
Kiss and Ride Kiss and Ride Transit Station Transit Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sustainable Urban Integration (SUI)?

With direction from the City and two years of public consultation, an extensive list of LRT Design Guidelines for Sustainable Urban Integration (SUI) was established. 

SUI looks beyond the building of tracks and trains to create neighbourhoods that are safe, attractive and connected. This involves designing livable, pedestrian-friendly environments and adding enhancements that reflect the feel and character of each of the communities along the LRT corridor.

Some examples of SUI enhancements include:

  • Building shared-use pathways, sidewalks and trails
  • Adding bike lanes that connect to the City’s existing bike lane network
  • Designing pedestrian-friendly zones around stops and stations
  • Using enhanced landscaping and streetscaping along the length of the corridor to create a more natural environment
  • Incorporating organic materials such as stone and wood wherever possible

These guidelines were incorporated into the LRT Design Guide, a document that became the foundation for specific design requirements included in the Valley Line LRT - Stage 1 Project Agreement.

Transforming Edmonton Post

Sustainable Urban Integration - Connecting Edmonton to its Routes

What is Property​ ​Acquisition and Expropriation?

City Council considered the impact on property owners when approving the route for the Valley Line LRT and ultimately selected an alignment that minimizes the need for the acquisition of private property. However, in some cases, privately-held property will need to be acquired in order for the project to move forward. Potential property needs for the Valley Line were assessed during the preliminary engineering process completed in 2013.

If a property owner and the City property agent cannot reach an agreement to purchase the property, the City may proceed with expropriation of the property as a last resort.

Why is the LRT designed to run primarily at street level, and how is it made compatible with car traffic?

The Valley Line LRT is designed to meet the overall goals of LRT expansion while fully integrating with the communities it serves. The low-floor, urban style LRT allows stops to be small, basically a raised curb and sidewalk with a shelter. Stops can be spaced closer together, making LRT accessible to more people. It costs less than elevated or subway systems.

The Valley Line LRT will run alongside traffic in designated lanes and follow the posted speed limits. The LRT will cross through an intersection during a green light and stop at a red light, just like the other vehicles on the road. The LRT may get green light priority at some intersections, but because no crossing arms will be lowered, cross-traffic won’t have to wait additional time before and after the LRT passes. As a result, increases in wait times are usually minor.

Another benefit of keeping the LRT at street level is that no overhead structures or tunnels are required. Going above or below street level creates visual and physical barriers in the community that reduce comfort and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists moving through or within the area.

When is above or below street level considered?

There are some locations where going above or below street level are required. For instance, on Valley Line Southeast, the LRT crosses CP and CN train tracks. Due to rail safety requirements and technical difficulties with having LRT tracks and train tracks intersect, the LRT has to go above or below street level for these crossings.

At other locations, street level crossings are incompatible with the style of road. For example, going above or below street level is required when an LRT crosses over Anthony Henday Drive or any of the streets in Edmonton’s “inner ring road”; Whitemud Drive, 75 Street, Yellowhead Trail and 170 Street.

Going above or below street level is also considered where traffic volume is already causing intersection gridlock and there is no other way to provide relief.

Why not elevate or tunnel the entire LRT?

A fully elevated or underground LRT would be inconsistent with the City’s vision, and it would be very costly. This higher cost would result in a much longer time to expand the system and realize the benefits.

What would going above or below street level involve?

Going above street level would require a bridge over the intersection for the LRT vehicles to travel on. The bridge is called an elevated guideway, and consists of a single deep beam that supports the weight of the bridge, LRT vehicles, snow, rain, wind, and so on.

The elevated guideway ramps up and down for about two blocks on each side of the intersection to get to its required height. It is typically supported on large concrete piers centered below the beam, but sometimes may need to be supported on a second layer of deep beams that span across the road onto concrete columns.

Due to the close proximity of the elevated station at West Edmonton Mall going underground is not considered feasible at 178 Street. Because an LRT stop can’t be placed on a slope, going above or below street level would usually mean that LRT stops intended to be placed near the intersection would need to be either shifted further from the intersection or built above street level as well.

Building above or below street level would be a departure from the City’s vision for a sustainable, urban, integrated, low-floor LRT system designed to blend into surrounding mature communities.

An elevated crossing would be more of a visual and potentially physical barrier. Building above or below street level would involve extending the tracks above ground from the elevated West Edmonton Mall station westward to cross over 178 Street and ramp down to ground level east of 182 Street. The 182 Street LRT stop is far enough away from 178 Street that it would probably be unaffected.

How are travel time savings calculated?

Travel times are calculated using transportation modelling software to measure travel times for vehicle, LRT and traffic congestion.

If plans for Valley Line involve LRT priority is removing them an alternative to going above or below street level?

Plans call for partial priority for the LRT at some major intersections where the green signal can be extended slightly to allow the LRT to pass before it turns red.

However, the LRT may still get a red signal that will require it to stop. The assessment includes determining if a reasonable balance of intersection movements can be achieved.

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City of Edmonton

Telephone 780-496-4874
Email LRTprojects@edmonton.ca

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