Riding the LRT to the Ellerslie area in south Edmonton is closer to becoming a reality. With full construction set to begin in 2023, work is taking place to prepare for the LRT extension from Century Park to Ellerslie Road.
“We have three major LRT projects already underway, and now we’re excited to begin the Capital Line South extension,” said Bruce Ferguson, Branch Manager, LRT Expansion and Renewal. “Not only will it bring jobs and contribute to our city’s economic recovery, it will also be essential in helping to move people efficiently as we grow to a city of two million people.”
If you live, work or travel near the future route, you will start to see signs of planning and early work this spring and summer.
The Capital Line South extension is expected to create 7,200 jobs during construction over the next six years, and an additional 2,300 jobs for operations and maintenance over the next 30 years.
The 4.5-km extension will connect to the newly built Heritage Valley Park & Ride, feature stations at Twin Brooks and Ellerslie and improve mobility and access to neighbourhoods in south Edmonton.
There’s a lot that needs to happen to lay the groundwork for the future line. This year, early works projects will start in order to get the future LRT corridor ready for full construction. This includes removing trees and relocating underground utilities such as electricity vaults, sewer lines and water mains.
Starting this spring, you can expect to see companies such as EPCOR and ATCO starting work on these early preparations. In some cases, this work may result in temporary road or lane closures, sidewalk closures or traffic detours.
“We appreciate residents and commuters’ patience through this process,” said Ferguson. “The City will work to minimize disruptions as much as possible and provide timely, consistent information so that those who are impacted will know what to expect.”
One of the locations you can expect to see work is at 23 Avenue and 111 Street where the LRT will dip below the intersection. To ensure water gets to the storm drain and does not pool on the tracks, crews will build a rainfall storage tank and pump station there.
Selecting a contractor
With provincial and municipal funding for the project in place, and federal funding expected soon, the procurement process for selecting a contractor is anticipated to begin this spring. After evaluating different delivery options for the Capital Line South LRT extension, the City selected a design-build (DB) approach. This type of contract requires the selected bidder to complete detailed design and build the project, which helps the project meet timelines since construction can start while the design is underway. The City will contribute funding and oversee the entire project.
The City selected this procurement strategy after engaging with construction industry stakeholders to understand the market’s capacity for the project. It is similar to the design-build-finance model of the Valley Line West, except that the bidder will not be required to provide partial private financing during construction.
It is anticipated that the procurement process will take about a year. Once a successful bidder is on board, construction is expected to take five to six years to complete.
Editor’s note: the screenshot at the top of the post is an artist’s rendering of a Capital Line South train heading over the Blackmud Creek bridge. Watch the Capital Line South video here.