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All 30 piers along Valley Line Southeast LRT fixed, TransEd ready to resume testing: CEO

All 30 piers that needed repairs along Edmonton's Valley Line Southeast LRT have been fixed, allowing TransEd to resume testing the full line, its CEO said Tuesday.

Ronald Joncas gave the progress update in the morning at the Davies Transit Centre in southeast Edmonton.

"Today, I am happy to announce that we have reached a progress of 94 per cent," he told reporters.

"The final work includes concrete surface finishing and cleanup, which does not impact the testing of the train. In fact, you may see trains operating through the whole alignment, from the 102 Street all the way to Mill Woods, before the New Year."

Joncas expects the LRT line's final safety certifications to be completed in 2023, although he wouldn't say definitively when the line would open to the public.

"It is the last chapter. It will just need a little bit more time. And we are very confident and excited that this will come to fruition in a very short time."


In mid-November, TransEd confirmed 30 of the line's 45 elevated track piers were cracked, up from the first estimate of 21.

According to Joncas, TransEd's engineers considered a range of options to address the issue – including rebuilding the faulty piers.

"Obviously, yes. As a due diligence process, you need to explore every option on the table," he told reporters on Tuesday.

He called the ultimate decision to reinforce the piers, rather than tear them down, "the best solution."

In the month since then, crews have worked "24/7," Joncas said, to reinforce them with rebar, concrete and steel beams. With the extra resources, the work went quicker than expected, the TransEd CEO admitted, thanking construction crews.

Next, the builder will be double checking the entire rail line and overhead power system on the elevated track, testing the quality of train service, and running simulations of peak and special event services, as well as emergency situations.

It will also work with the city to decide what kind of aesthetic treatment to give the pier reinforcements.

Valley Line Southeast LRT piers at the Davies Transit Centre remain wrapped on Dec. 20, 2022. TransEd CEO Ronald Joncas said they would remain that way until an aesthetic treatment for the reinforcements was decided.

However, Edmonton's city manager noted the physical work is only half of the work left to do. 

"Another important part of being on track is the public confidence in the safety and the completion of that project," Andre Corbould told CTV News Edmonton. "And I think we've got some work to do, and we're going to work hard to prove that." 


The 13-kilometre LRT line from downtown Edmonton to the Mill Woods community, originally scheduled to be operating in 2020, has been plagued with issues.

In 2018, a "large concrete mass" was discovered in the North Saskatchewan riverbed under the Tawatinâ Bridge, pushing back construction for months.

Absenteeism and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic delayed the project further in 2021, TransEd has said.

The cracks in the piers were discovered in the summer of 2022, as TransEd was starting to test the line.

"It's been frustrating," commented Mayor Amarjeet Sohi in a recent interview. "But it's our responsibility to make sure that TransEd builds that infrastructure to the highest safety standards." 

TransEd is contractually responsible for the financial fallout of the delays, as well as for operating and maintaining the line for the next three decades.

Joncas assured media the consortium could afford to pay the penalties for the delays. 

Ronald Joncas, TransEd CEO, gives an update on work to repair Edmonton's Valley Line Southeast LRT piers on Dec. 20, 2022.

"It's not cheap. We cannot obviously disclose any financial numbers – as you can imagine, this remains confidential in TransEd – but we are bearing the cost and assure you once again, that will have no impact to the Edmontonians on their taxpayer dollars," Joncas said Tuesday.

"So it is in all of our interest to make sure that these repairs are meeting the contractual requirements. We are bearing the risk for the 30 years to come so we are here for the long time."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson Top Stories

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