Edmonton South LRT Extension
The City of Edmonton reached a significant milestone earlier this year with the completion of the south leg of its Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. The $690-million extension picks up at the Health Sciences Station near the University of Alberta and runs south to a multi-storey glass and brick transit station at Century Park.
The completion means those taking the LRT can travel from Century Park to Clareview in the north in about 30 minutes.
From an environmental standpoint, the extension has resulted in fewer vehicles on Edmonton's already clogged streets and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The city estimates that a rider creates 65 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than an auto user for the same trip.
The length of the south extension is 7.63 km, making the length of the entire system 20.3 km. The project includes four new stations. The scope of work went far beyond the laying of track, however, and included construction work on nearby roads, catenary, signals and several major civil features including two LRT tunnels, a bridge, pedestrian overpasses and an underpass, and a fully landscaped multi-use recreation trail.
Because of the project's size, the city used a variety of contract delivery methods, primarily design-bid-build. Three components were delivered by construction management.
PCL was the primary construction contractor, though the city also singled out several others as playing important roles in the project.
"The South LRT project was a complex mega-project, with multiple disciplines and a high degree of public visibility," the city said in its nomination of the project, pointing out that the project was finished on time and on budget. The public has reacted favourably as well, it adds, with estimates indicating that weekday LRT ridership has doubled from 50,000 to 100,000.
Future expansion of the LRT has been a hot button in Edmonton, and was a key issue in October's municipal elections. At this time work is proceeding on expanding the LRT from the downtown core north towards the NAIT campus. Meanwhile, Mayor Stephen Mandel has been pushing to have a plan in place before year's end to pay for construction of a line that would take riders to the southeastern part of the city.