Mayor seeks more information on the cost of building LRT line underground
Published Wednesday, June 1, 2011 6:26PM MDT
The mayor is looking for more information on the cost of building a new LRT line underground. He has asked administration for a list of the pros and cons of tunneling a portion of the southeast expansion under Edmonton's downtown.
It was 40 years ago when the city decided to build the LRT line underground in the downtown core. Now, the mayor thinks the city should re-visit that way of thinking when it expands the line to the southeast.
The mayor and councillors have asked administration to bring back a report on the possibility of constructing the downtown portion of the southeast LRT line underground.
"We're not putting this in until Tuesday. We're putting this in for a 100 or 200 years so why not do it right," said Stephen Mandel.
The idea comes after opposition from Edmonton's Chinese community to build a line above ground from Churchill through Chinatown.
It's move some say could not only cut the community in half, but could potentially become a safety risk.
"We are very concerned with LRT the way it's designed putting it right in front of the seniors tower and cultural centre -- that's a big issue for our seniors...safety," said Mei Hung with the Chinese Benevolent Association.
Some councillors think moving to underground lines will send the project way over budget. Coun. Kim Krushell says the cost could be four times higher, which could result in the expansion being stalled.
"If we build everything underground we know the price point. We won't see any LRT get built and that's been the challenge for Edmonton for so many years," said Krushell.
And while there are some riders who agree the cost is a deal breaker, others believe it's worth it.
"I think it would cost a bit more money but in the long-term it would definitely be a better solution to run it underground," said Shayne Abrams.
City council still has to approve a concept plan for the downtown leg of the LRT expansion. There is no word at this point when administration will bring back a report.
With files from Scott Roberts