Tunnel and bridge questions arise for new LRT line

Underground warfare is ready to erupt over the route of Edmonton’s proposed west rapid-transit line.

The new LRT line would connect the University of Alberta to West Edmonton Mall tunnelling away from the university along 87 Avenue, says the city’s transportation department.


Tunnels on either side of the river would save homes from being destroyed along with cutting down on noise pollution, the department says.

Planners are proposing the route go underneath homes in the Parkview area before exiting onto a new bridge crossing the North Saskatchewan River. From there, the new line will travel through another long tunnel in the opposite bank, confirmed Coun. Bryan Anderson.

"You and I are not transportation engineers, so we take the professionals’ advice and asked enough questions to see if they have done a thorough job, and then we accept their recommendation," said Anderson during a phone interview.

Mayor Stephen Mandel, who has vocally opposed the plans to extend the LRT along 87 Avenue, says the idea is too expensive.

"We’ve spent years and years and years going over the LRT because we’ve tunnelled and couldn’t afford it and I don’t support starting it now," said Mandel.

Mandel told reporters yesterday, that in order to move the project quickly, the new line needs to move above ground.

"We have to create more of an advantage for people to take light rail transit," said Mandel, who favours an LRT line along Stony Plain Road.

Anderson says the transportation department panned two other proposed routes for the extension, including a route that follows Whitemud Drive crossing the Quesnell Bridge to the South Campus LRT station.

In an interview with Metro in January, Edmonton Transit manager Bob Boutilier said the west-end extension will reach as far west as Lewis Estates.

Boutilier said plans to extend the system west are more challenging than plans to extend services farther in the northeast and south because engineers have to contend with the North Saskatchewan River.


connecting rail

  • The new line would be connected to the south LRT and Health Sciences station and it would reach ground level near the Cross Cancer Institute.

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