Taking Shape: Valley Line Southeast update 6

Here’s a quick look at recent progress made by TransEd on the City of Edmonton’s Valley Line Southeast LRT during the warmer-weather, longer-daylight hours of summer.

Churchill Stop

The Connector building will be on the southeast corner of Churchill Square.

COVID-19 has put a damper on Edmonton’s normally vibrant festival season, but festival goers will be in for a treat when they return to Churchill Square. The concrete for the platforms at the Churchill Stop has been poured and the steel structure for the Churchill Connector—the building that will connect to Metro and Capital Lines—is now emerging.

Quarters Stop

Workers prepare ground at the Quarters Stop.

Remember the storm water tank able to hold 2,800 cubic metres of rainfall to protect against once-in-a-century flooding? The tank is now complete and buried, and crews are building the Quarters Stop platform on top of it.

102 Avenue Portal

A concrete formwork traveller was used to keep the concrete walls of the tunnel consistently shaped and sized.

East along 102 Avenue, the tunnels are largely complete, and the formwork traveller (the grey tube-like structure pictured above) has been removed. Crews used this specialized machine to form the concrete around the curved sides and top of both tunnels. In March, local news media toured the tunnel, and we tagged along to give you a peek inside.

Tawatinâ Bridge

The gaps between the bridge deck and the north and south banks of the river are getting smaller each day.

Crews continue to pour the concrete deck on the Tawatinâ Bridge over the North Saskatchewan River. As the bridge deck got longer, additional cable stays were installed. These thick white cables connect the concrete deck to the tower. TransEd has installed all seven sets of cable stays. TransEd will finish pouring concrete to connect the bridge deck to the elevated guideway over 98 Avenue early this fall.

River users have the best view of where the new shared use path will be constructed.

Once TransEd completes the concrete deck for the train, they can begin work on the shared use pathway underneath. The path will run through the opening between the two sides of the concrete support tower. It will be eight metres wide and designed to support a variety of users. For cyclists and other wheeled users there is an asphalt pathway down the centre. On either side of the asphalt path there are wood-plank walkways that echo for pedestrians the feel of the bridge the Tawatinâ Bridge replaces.

Muttart Stop

This substation will supply power to the Valley Line Southeast. You can find similar ones on the Metro and Capital lines.

Edmonton’s first and only LRT stop in the River Valley is located just steps away from the Muttart Conservatory. The Muttart Stop is under construction along 98 Avenue. A Utility Complex is being built nearby, too. It’s one of 11 being built along the Valley Line Southeast route.

The Utility Complexes include signalling and communications equipment, backup generators, and Traction Power Substations (TPSS). The substations convert electricity from AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current), which powers the trains through the catenary system (those overhead wires you see running along the LRT systems). The Utility Complexes also power stop lighting, fare machines and security systems. The building exteriors and landscaping are designed to reflect the feel and character of the communities they’re located in.

Kâhasinîskâk Bridge

The Kâhasinîskâk Bridge with handrails.

In May, the Kâhasinîskâk Bridge was lifted into place over Connors Road. It is longer and higher than the bridge it replaced, providing enough clearance for the overhead catenary system poles and overhead power lines to operate the trains. Crews have now installed the handrails and will pave the bridge and the connections to the existing trails in the area.

 Count ’em. 10, 852 trees and 85,767 shrubs along the Valley Line Southeast project

Strathearn Stop

In addition to providing shelter, the canopies will also hold wayfinding signs.

Crews in Strathearn have been very busy the past few months.

The concrete stop platform has been constructed and workers have begun installing steel for the shelter canopies. Every stop will have heated shelters to keep waiting passengers comfortable in winter.

Nearby, crews are placing rails for the train tracks. Shrubs and grasses are in along the nearby sidewalk as part of the project’s landscaping plan. The Strathearn flora are just some of the 10,852 trees and 85,767 shrubs that TransEd is planting along mixed-use paths, road medians, and along the tracks of the Valley Line Southeast LRT project.

Bonnie Doon Stop

Bonnie Doon Stop was the first to have the steel canopies set up.

The steel for the canopies over the platform at the Bonnie Doon Stop has been installed. You may notice this canopy has the same design as Strathearn Stop’s. The curved design will be common to all neighbourhood stops, and was selected by the public as part of the Valley Line’s public engagement design process in 2012-13.

The Valley Line Southeast crosses over Whyte Ave at 83 Street.

South of the stop, TransEd has put in train tracks across Whyte Avenue in a concrete track slab flush with the road. EPCOR put up an additional pole and arm for traffic signals at this intersection.

Here, drivers heading south on 83 Street wanting to turn right on to Whyte Avenue will see a “no right turn” sign activate and light up when the train is approaching.

At this point the tracks shift from running along the west side of the road near Bonnie Doon to running along the centre of the road.

Davies Station

Each of the pieces of wood, visible inside of Davies Station (inset), was individually prepared by TransEd in a nearby workshop.

In the Davies Industrial Area, crews are completing the wooden roof of Edmonton’s first elevated LRT station. To build and fasten this unique architectural feature, crews will use 15,498 pieces of timber and more than 300,000 nails.

Valley Line Southeast passengers will be able to climb stairs, ride escalators or take an elevator to get up to the platform. This station will also feature an ETS transit centre with bus bays and a 1,300 stall Park & Ride facility.

Millbourne/Woodvale Stop

This signalized crossing will provide safe access for pedestrians between the Michaels Park and Greenview neighbourhoods.

At 41 Avenue, just north of the Millbourne/Woodvale Stop, EPCOR installed a set of traffic lights for a controlled pedestrian crossing. Once complete, this crossing will connect pedestrians with a new shared use path along the Mill Woods Golf Course. The steel for the canopies is going up, too.

Small cranes were brought on site to do the heavy lifting.

Grey Nuns Stop

The Grey Nuns Stop is beginning to look complete with the steel canopies and overhead catenary system in place.

Steel for the stop canopies has also gone up at the Grey Nuns Stop. 

Here the yellow tactile strips—officially called Tactile Walking Surface Indicators (TWSI’s, popularly called twizzies)—are in place along the edge of the platform. These bumpy strips identify the edge of the platform and mark pedestrian crossings along the LRT tracks.

Mill Woods Stop

Located along 28 Avenue, the Mill Woods Stop will be a quick walk from the new transit centre currently under construction.

The Mill Woods Stop is the south end-of-line for Valley Line Southeast LRT users—for now. (Check out the City’s LRT Network Plan to see where it could extend to in the future.) Here, instead of having separate northbound and southbound platforms, there is a single platform. This allows TransEd to have more than one train at the Mill Woods Stop at a time, handy for adding another train during rush hour or large event crowds. 

Trains may depart from either side of the platform and then run through a switching point west of the stop to head north towards downtown. 

Work continues through the summer, and we’ll keep you informed as the Valley Line Southeast LRT project continues to take shape. 

Thanks for reading, thanks for riding!