Though construction is already underway on much of the southeast leg of the Valley Line LRT and ramping up this month, Edmonton City Council's Executive Committee will be discussing a report next week that looks at the pros and cons of elevating part of the line.

Rendering of an elevated Bonnie Doon Station looking north, image via City of Edmonton

The study was initiated informally by TransEd Partners — the Public-Private Partnership (P3) consortium that financed and is building the line as well as charged with operating it — and city Administration. It looks at the impacts of elevating the line from just north of 90 Avenue to just south of 82 (Whyte) Avenue, bypassing a few intersections including the traffic circle at Connors Road and 82 Avenue itself.

Rendering of an elevated guideway over Connors Road traffic circle looking south, image via City of Edmonton

Though many residents have asked why the city doesn't build elevated tracks like Vancouver's SkyTrain, at least through major intersections, the report does not present a rosy picture of the benefits versus the costs. The report estimates a vehicle time savings average of just 10-40 seconds at each intersection, and just 1-2 minutes reduced travel time for riders on the southeast LRT line, but those gains come at an added cost of $125 to $220 million, which is unbudgeted.

Rendering of an elevated Bonnie Doon Station looking south, image via City of Edmonton

Elevating the line would also necessitate additional property acquisition including six single-family residential homes, and changing the plans at this stage would add a minimum of six months to the project schedule, though the report states it would likely be much higher due to numerous risk factors. Additionally, the report states:

An elevated guideway would have significant aesthetic and urban design impacts. An elevated station, fences, gates, crossing arms, and other associated infrastructure would hinder integration of the Valley Line into the fabric of the neighbourhood. The value of adjacent properties may drop compared to the value with an at-grade design, and demand for redevelopment adjacent to grade-separated LRT may slow due to the additional architectural costs and complexity (e.g. bridge structures to tie in with elevated stations).

The report can be found through the link in the April 18 agenda of the Executive Committee (item 6.2).

Additional images and information can be accessed in our Database file linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread or leave a comment below.

Related Companies:  EllisDon