Calgary councillors approve alternative Stage 1 route for Green Line

Calgary city council has approved a revised route for Stage 1 of the Green Line LRT expansion.

The first approved stage of the project goes from 16 Avenue N. to Shepard and also comes with changes to construction staging.

The first leg of the Green Line will be built in three segments:

  • Segment 1: Elbow River to Shepard
  • Segment 2A: 2 Avenue S.W. station to Elbow River
  • Segment 2B: 16 Avenue N. to north of 2 Avenue S.W. station

Because Stage 1 of the project is shovel-ready, details on qualifications that will be needed from companies hoping to work on the project are expected to be announced in June, and a request for proposal should be out by July 24, the city said.

“Given Segment 1 will be delivered as a design build finance project, the proponent teams will be bidding on the project starting on July 24, 2020, however, the detailed design and construction will begin in 2021,” the city said.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi called the nearly unanimous approval of the project “momentous.”

“The Green Line is not only the largest public works projects in the history of Calgary, it’s about three-and-a-half times bigger than the second-largest project,” the mayor said.

Nenshi said the transit expansion is an “investment in transit and an investment in helping people’s commutes get better, safer and faster, and an investment in building the city.”

“And so we have an outstanding transit investment, and I cannot wait to get shovels in the ground.”

The city said the updated construction stages balance the commitment to move forward with the LRT expansion with the desires for managing financial risks.

Nenshi said in the weeks since the new alignment was presented, councillors have been getting more clarity on the timing and staging of the project, and ensuring there wouldn’t be any surprises along the way — and so the Green Line will be done “on time, on budget.”

In an emailed statement, Jim Gray from the ad hoc group opposing the Green Line, said he was pleased to see city council and administration take “concrete steps toward reducing the risk of the project.”

“We appreciate the efforts they have made to listen to, and respond to, our concerns,” Gray said.

“We continue to worry about the risks of downtown tunnels given the geology of downtown Calgary and urge the city to address this risk during planning for Segment 2A.”

Gray said the approval of the project marked a “good day for our wonderful city,” adding that the group would stay engaged in the process as the expansion moves forward.

“Stage 1 builds the core of the Green Line long-term vision and will enable future incremental expansion as funding is available to realize the full benefits of the rapid transit network,” Green Line general manager Michael Thompson said.

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